The following text is from a review of the documentary The Divide from The Guardian:
Katharine Round’s documentary The Divide is a short, sharp, shock of a film, based on Richard G Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better. It briefly argues that the boisterous egalitarianism of the 80s radical right and the big bang of Thatcherism and Reaganism created a monster in the present day: a super-rich, supra-managerial class whose earnings are so stratospheric, so out of proportion to anything their companies are achieving, so deeply barricaded in gated communities and offshore holdings, that their existence is almost beyond our ken. And they enjoy what Milton Friedman called socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor: their prestige is guaranteed by the state, whose grandest politicians yearn to enjoy corporate super-wealth in retirement. Meanwhile, the humbler strivers are stuck with zero-hours contracts and no job security. And it is the very spectacle of inequality that is toxic. Even the rich are unhappy on their solid-gold hamster wheel.
The lyrics appear to be skirting around the surveillance society, but equally they might be meditating on the difficulties of open discussion in an age where thought is scrutinised and policed by the public itself on social media, where any idle thought runs the risk of seeing one condemned as #problematic. (Quote from The Guardian.)
Loose talk around tables
Abandon all reason
Avoid all eye contact
Do not react
Shoot the messenger
This is a low-flying panic attack
Yes, at any time you might be condemned. Condemned as problematic, difficult or not easy to medicate. By the people, or by the police, or by your psychiatrist – you will be seen as problematic, your voice will not be heard any more and they will have the power to lock you up. Yes, really; by some words written on a computer or a phone call made – they can lock you up.
Plötsligt tänker jag på min förre läkare/psykiater. Och hur man blir problematisk om man säger sanningen.
In 1989 five young black men were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman jogging in New York City. Leading the charge against them was a real estate mogul whose divisive rhetoric can be found in his presidential campaign today.
Donald Trump paid a reported $85,000 to take out advertising space in four of the city’s newspapers, including the New York Times. Under the headline “Bring Back The Death Penalty. Bring Back The Police!” and above his signature, Trump wrote: “I want to hate these muggers and murderers. They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes. They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard before committing a crime or an act of violence.”
Above: Trump’s ad in the New York Daily News. Photograph: NY Daily News Archive
Above: Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five: ‘What would this country look like with Donald Trump as being a president? That’s a scary thing.’ Photograph: The Guardian
In 2002, after Salaam had served seven years in prison, Matias Reyes, a violent serial rapist and murderer already serving life inside, came forward and confessed to the Central Park rape. He stated that he had acted by himself. A re-examination of DNA evidence proved it was his semen alone found on Meili’s body, and just before Christmas that year, the convictions against each member of the Central Park Five were vacated by New York’s supreme court
Salaam, who said he had been scarred for life by his experiences in prison, also felt insulted. But it was the announcement last June that Trump had finally decided to run for president that was, in a way, more alarming.
“To see that he has not changed his position of being a hateful person, to see that he has not changed his position of inciting people, to see that he’s still the same person and in many ways he has perfected his sense of being that number-one inciter, you know, I was scared,” Salaam said.
Above: Antron McCray, Raymond Santana Jr, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam and Kharey Wise outside a theater before the New York premiere of the Central Park Five, in 2012. Photograph: Michael Nagle/New York Times / Redux / eyevine
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