So, just to get it off my chest, I found out last night that my mother’s younger brother, and my namesake, Uncle Bill had a stroke. Bill has been in El Paso, Texas for the past six months or so basically taking care of/keeping my 94 year old grandfather company. Bill does not have health care. How this will affect his condition and his future remains to be seen. He has been a great uncle over the years and a wonderful sibling to my mother. Some of you might remember him from our college graduation two years ago, when multiple people mistook him for my father. That’s how much we look alike. I’m hoping and praying for his well-being.
Last night I saw District 9 with my roommate Jon and Joe P. I enjoyed it. It was quit depressing at times and was one of those sci-fi pics that outlines how awful humans can be and was jam-packed with some not so subtle allegories to everything from apartheid to internment camps, modern xenophobia, and government’s outsourcing of military and police power. The opening conceit was interesting and original but I was a bit disappointed with how the film eventually became a gory shoot-em-up. Apparently, a sequal has already been greenlighted and I hope they can improve on this ultimately solid effort. The portrayal of refugee Nigerians in the film is pretty negative, and Nicole Stamp over at Pageslap has some pretty damning criticism. Slate also explored the issue, albeit with a bit more ambivalence.
The New Republic has an interesting blog post about a recent town hall held by Jesse Jackson, Jr. down here on the South Side of Chicago at 113th and Halsted. Surprise, surprise, not a protestor in sight. Dare the “everyday” Americans who are disrupting town halls across the country venture into one part of the country they would prefer to treat with nothing beyond benign neglect? Apparently not. I guess if they don’t have an assault rifle over their shoulder and a handgun strapped to their thigh they don’t feel comfortable venturing into “that” area. This reminds me of a conversation Jon and I had with a businessman whom Jon was buying a set of outdoor tables and chairs from for his new apartment. We mentioned that we were moving out of Hyde Park and the guy’s immediate comment was, “The neighborhood changes real quick…” So basically this dude was getting at the undesireable elements of Hyde Park. That is, it abuts the hood and is thus clearly a dangerous place full of the kind of people most middle and upper class people would prefer didn’t exist, or at least didn’t exist within their sphere of existence. Granted, I don’t expect people to move into the hood for the betterment of society but Hyde Park is a perfectly respectable neighborhood that is probably more diverse than most in the city of Chicago and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my two years living here.
Also, slightly related, is this piece from Slate talking about racial disparities in health care and how to fix them.
In other news, Pitchfork has begun their end of the decade retrospectives, which I’m sure they will stretch out for the better part of the next few months, with a list of the top 500 songs of the decade. The top 20 will be unfurled tomorrow. Hard to believe the aughts are already coming to end, especially amid so much strife and uncertainty. Here is to hoping that our next decade finds us in peace and prosperity.