Archive - Feb 2006 - Blog entry

Interview on KBOO

This evening KBOO, the cool community radio station in Portland, interviewed me over the phone about Rod Coronado's current situation. Not that I'm an expert, but I sort of got selected by the little group of supporters here in Tucson to do it. Maybe because I used to live in Portland. Maybe because no one else wanted to do it.

Anyway, it was a pretty by-the-numbers set of questions and I provided some pretty boring and almost awkward answers. I guess I was nervous. I'm usually not nervous talking in public or even on the radio or TV, but the fact that I'm supposed to be saying the right thing, that you can't just spout off and be irronsponsible when talking about someone in trouble with the law - that made me nervous. You can kind of hear that I'm choosing my words very carefully. Despite that I still screwed up, and said that Rod had given his lecture in San Diego last August when it was actually August 2003. drat.

I hate how they called him an "indigenous eco-anarchist" on the KBOO news archive page. KBOO of course means that as a compliment, but it sounds bad to me. Maybe I wouldn't mind if the mainstream media hadn't made "anarchist" into a dirty word. I dunno. I kind of wish they could just say "person who cares more about nature and wildlife than about property and money." But there always has to be these labels used all the time.

Necesito Su Ayuda Con Traducción

I've finished posting to the Indymedia Translation Tool all the english transcriptions of my film. If you're a native speaker of latin american spanish and would like to help translate, please click the link, and then pick a section.

If you've never used the Translation Tool before, you may want to read the instructions. The TT is a really wonderful thing - many people, when they hear about it first, think it is another crappy machine translator like babelfish or google translations, but it's really a web application that handles online collaboration, enabling the management of little translation projects - allowing those with texts needing translation to propose them, and volunteer translators to agree to do them and post their finished translations, as well as revise translations.

The wonderful Jenoun, who also helped me translate the spanish interviews into english, has already done the first section. I'm hoping I can get the rest done in the next couple weeks, in time for me to add the subtitles, have the DVD replicated, and take the DVDs on my little screening tour of Las Cruces, Albuquerque and San Diego, March 30 through April 5. Anybody who helps will of course get a copy or two.




i spent about 3 hours today covering the latest on Rod Coronado's situation. went to the hearing, then went home and wrote a feature for AZ IMC.

now i just screwed up cuz of one misclick and lost the first try at this post. grr.

so much stuff to do. schedule thrown off on multiple days because of this stupid indictment of a friend and member of my community. and of course this is why the govt does this sort of thing. to wear down and sabotage of the efforts of hundreds of related activists and supporters. It effects more than just the people held in jail, it disrupts whole communities and projects. of course this is not to minimize the experience of the prisoners, whose lives are infinitely more disrupted than their friends and supporters.

really the thing i should be doing is continuing to post the rest of the transcription of my film, so that people can translate it into spanish. that's my priority, but... other things get in the way.



I just found out about a new documentary called "Living Room" that is touring around and that's about infoshops. I wish it were playing at our infoshop here in Tucson. The closest the tour will come is The Catalyst in Prescott.

Anyway it looks like it could be a good film, and they cover the Back to Back Cafe in Portland, a space I'm very familiar with, so I'm interested.

But a particularly interesting thing about it is that on their website there's a thoughtful essay about the process they went through to get funding and approval from their school. At the beginning of the essay I read that they received a grant for $2100 and I thought ooh, lucky. Then I read on about the hoops they had to jump through to get that money and decided it's not worth it and it was not lucky.

Apart from the problems they mention in the essay, it just amazes me that interviewing someone for a film is even considered "research" and that if you do that under the auspices of a University, you need to get approval from a "human subjects research committee." I just talked to someone else doing work on the Juarez situation as a thesis and she has to get the same kind of permission.

It's just a bit ridiculous to me. We're not talking about injecting chemicals into your arms, this is talking and either writing down or videorecording your answers. you're not a "human subject," you're a person.

I guess it's another case of a few bad apples spoiling everything. Because in the past some "researchers" abused their relationship with their interviewees somewhere, now poor well-meaning students have to subject themselves to this bullshit.

(I guess it's kind of ironic, too, that these people are making a film essentially about an alternative, DIY way of looking at information and information distribution (infoshops), and yet they do it from the auspices of a big university and spend months waiting for someone to give them the go-ahead and write them a check.)

The same kind of thing is going on in a completely different arena, or shall I say rink. In 2 different cities that I know of, Tucson and Portland, and maybe more, filmmakers are running into problems making documentary work about roller derby participants, largely due to (I believe) the recent debut of a new "reality" show on A&E called Rollergirls.

Bad apples ruining it for everybody.

Rod Coronado Arrested by Feds Today

Crazy things seem to always happen on Wednesdays here. I can rememeber a few Wednesday nights coming to the Dry River meeting and finding out some bad news about some arrest or raid or something.

Today is another one. Rod Coronado apparently was arrested at his workplace today. His girlfriend reportedly went to his house and found FBI and ATF agents searching it.

We really don't know more than that. There's speculation that it's something to do with the grand jury investigation in San Diego, connected to Rod's speaking event there a couple years ago. This has been brewing for awhile. (I wish I had more links about this grand jury investigation but the search function on the SD IMC site seems to be screwed up, so I only have the above link which I had bookmarked a couple months ago).

I shouldn't say anything else yet. I feel like I should be writing this on the AZ IMC site, but indymedia folks here are skittish about writing stuff too soon. There's a certain preciousness to feature articles here that is a big contrast to Portland. I personally think it's better to write a little bit ASAP, maybe even speculate a little bit, rather than sit on a story till you have 5 paragraphs worth of absolute truth - as long as it doesn't put anyone at risk or incriminate anyone. But, whatever, I'm new here and when in Tucson, do as the Tucsonans.

Anyway, we'll have something up in the morning, I think.

"On The Edge" Moving Forward

Things are really picking up speed here regarding my film. It's almost as if as soon as I decided to stop meekly and passively waiting for various festivals to bestow their validation upon me and my work, things started to really get going in a nice way. It's exciting, and makes me wonder if it was a mistake to try the festival route at all. I guess it was good to try this once, but I may not bother the next time. Lots of activist filmmakers, Greg Berger being a good example, are going around that whole process because there are other ways to do things. DIY!!! I'm still waiting to hear from a few more festivals but I'm going ahead with other plans while I do that.

I just heard from the organizers of the Justice for Women symposium at New Mexico State University that they want to screen the film during that event, March 30. I'm also working on getting screenings in San Diego and Albuquerque around that time. I also just recently signed a non-exclusive license with Free Speech TV and they will probably start airing it in late March. That's a potential 11 million viewers so that's really exciting.

Further exciting things coming up - I'm planning to attend the symposium at NMSU and bring along some friends from Tucson, and we're going to go visit Juarez afterward and hopefully meet with some community members. There are also plans brewing for showing it in Arivaca in April, and also again in Tucson, perhaps with some of the musicians that did the soundtrack playing live the same night.

Meanwhile I continue to work on transcribing the English parts of the film, so that they can be translated to Spanish for subtitling. I hope to get the transcription done today and start posting sections of it to the Indymedia Translation Tool. Then when the translation is done I can have a bunch of copies of the DVD made, I start getting it out there even further.

Sci-Fi Graffiti

Apropo my conversation with someone recently about the new Battlestar Galactica series (I can't remember who I was talking to): I just saw in the bathroom at Epic, every hipster's favorite coffeehouse in Tucson, the following graffito: "Adama is a cylon."

If you don't watch the show, I'll explain: Commander Adama is the military leader of the fleet that comprises the last surviving humans, after the Cylons devastated all the human planets. The Cylons can make androids that are almost indistinguishable from humans, which provides a lot of the suspense and intrigue of the show. Who's a cylon, who's not?

Wired for Cooperation

An article in the journal Neuron (I love that name) reports that a study found that when people cooperate, a part of their brain associated with pleasure is stimulated. They don't know why humans evolved to be this way, but now they know why it feels good to help each other out and work together.

(via José)

Attention Trust

This is pretty cool. The rights of an attention-giver. Nice.

Democracy Now

Almost everyone left of center likes Democracy Now and is constantly listening to it, talking about it, linking to it in their blogs, and going to see Amy Goodman speak whenever she comes through town.

I'm here to say something I've been wanting to say out loud for a long time but have hestitated because of its possible controversial nature: I don't quite understand why people like the show and Goodman so much. I myself almost can't stand to listen to or watch it, and I certainly don't listen or watch regularly.

I guess the simple answer is: the content, and the fact that there's not really very many other shows out there that are like it. It's the only show of its kind with its level of resources and professionalism. And the good thing about Amy Goodman is at least she's not a wingnut. There are lots of left-wing news/analysis shows, especially on internet radio and such, that have hosts that just come off sounding like wacko conspiracy nuts.

But Goodman is simply one of the worst interviewers I've ever heard or seen. At first I thought it was because I was watching her on TV at first and she's really coming from a radio background, but whenever i listen to the radio version I feel the same way. Not because of what she says, but how she says it. Her whole manner is so wooden and tactless and impolite, it's almost offensive. Now, don't get me wrong, the subject matter rocks, Goodman has great people on her show and she's getting some really important information out to the world that is pretty underreported. But next time you listen to her check out how she talks when she's interviewing. Her phrasing is so awkward that I frequently even get confused about what she's saying. For instance, I was just listening to an old archived show where she was interviewing John Perkins, author of "Confessions of an Economic Hitman." Every once in awhile, as broadcasters always do, she mentions what you're listening to. Station identification, or whatever. But there's literally no pause between that and the previous sentence or her next question. For this case she would say stuff like "For those of you just joining us, you're listening to Democracy Now tell us about the dealings with the house of Saud and the agreements the U.S. government made with them." I'm totally serious, it was literally a run on sentence to the point where I got confused; and can't believe that a professional broadcast journalist would talk that way.

She's also just so brusque that it borders on rude. She will constantly say stuff like "You write about the assasination of Omar Trasero. explain," or "how closely did you work with the world bank." That's right, no question mark. Excerpt for the fact that there's a word like "how" or "when" or "why" at the beginning, her questions are not questions, there's no higher inflection at the end of the sentence to indicate that its a question, she just sort of snaps out a phrase. do you talk to people like that when you want them to tell you things? I sure don't.

It's so weird. How and why do people listen to this? Why do people appear on her shows? When are they going to fire her, or make her just a producer, and get someone else with a personality to sit behind the microphone? I just don't get how she rose so high with an interview manner like hers.

Maybe she's brusque and awkward like that because she's trying to seem to not be a wingnut, to be hyper-professional, and to counter the ditzy female newscaster stereotype, etc. But I'd say she's overcompensating and gone too far the other way. So, lighten up, Amy, be nice, and relax a little. Or step down, concentrate on writing the stories, and get someone else to read them.

Let's see how many flames I get about this....