Archive for July 31st, 2007

Quite a while ago I read a blog entry about a blog project regarding a movie called “The Girl in the Cafe.”  I was just intrigued enough to join the project, and commit to watching the movie and writing a review about it, and then sending the DVD on its next stop on its tour. 

I got the message that the DVD was on its way to me right before I left for Colorado.  When I got back, it had not arrived yet, and so we jumped right into processing the garden sass that is trying to inundate us.   It is an intense time of year here, much of what we eat vegetable-wise during the year comes off this place out of our garden, so when the harvest is happening, we tend to stick to business.


On Saturday morning, we had already picked tomatoes, and started a second batch of pickles after processing the first batch, in addition to putting up the serranos that Jim had picked.   When we went to get the mail, lo and behold, “The Girl” had arrived.   After we had finished fooling with garden stuff, we decided to watch the DVD. 

There were certain difficulties in playing the DVD.  It has been a lot of places and been touched by many fingers.   Fortunately, cleaning the fingerprints off of it caused it to resume playing.  

I spent most of Sunday as I was processing chard and kale thinking about what to say about this movie.   I continued my cogitations through Monday, and also today.  I have been worrying about just how unpopular I might make myself by pointing out what I consider to be a flaw in the logic of this movie.

First, I must say that I think this film is well written, and well acted.  I enjoyed the fact that it was in black and white.   I think this genre has been ignored far too much in our modern, technicolor world.  There are no chase scenes, beautifully implied sex, and a very simple plot.  The message of the movie is that one person can make a difference if they have the courage to speak up and out, even at the risk of making other people uncomfortable.

I find this laudable.   I can also see why this film has made a strong impression on many people.   It is billed as being part of the MakePovertyHistory campaign.   I am not sure that the G8 nations are going to actually accomplish this feat, even though there was much earnest and sometimes acrimonious discussion of this subject in the movie. 

However, one of the things I found most disturbing about this movie was that all we saw was talking.   I never saw “The Girl” actually DO anything to alleviate poverty, nor did I see any suggestions of actual meaningful actions a person could do to do this.  (I would have liked to see a list of things like The Heifer Project that individuals could contribute to, for example.)  The implication of the movie was that somehow it is the responsibility of the Governments of the Eight Big Powers to solve all the world’s problems by throwing money at them.  I would submit that as long as those G8 nations’ governments are being elected using money contributed to them by PACs, corporations, and lobbies, nothing is likely to be done about world poverty.

I find it ironic to watch this movie telling me that my country (The USA) should be responsible for solving the crises of poverty somewhere in Africa, when we are not even capable of figuring out how to provide health care to our own people.  We have our own starving children, right here.   We have our own homeless people, right here.  We are rather far down on the list of literacy.  Our rate of children dying in childbirth is higher than something like 30 other nations, we do not have the highest life expectancy either. 

Yep, as a nation, we are rich, and we drive our disgusting big SUVs and consume, consume, consume.   But our national debt is now in the trillions of dollars, largely because our arrogant, illegal, ought-to-be-impeached administration is burning and blowing up billions of dollars every day over in the Middle East.   I wonder why “The Girl” wants us to start solving problems for the third world.  There are times when I observe our record in Iraq that I think the developing nations might be better off without our tender attentions.  Call me cynical.

“The Girl” makes a passionate speech about children living in abject poverty dying.   They die while we grow too fat for our nice clothes.   She tells us that 30,000 children die unnecessarily every day; that amounts to one every three seconds.   What is not ever stated in this movie, and what I feel needs to be pointed out is, that the world population is growing by 78 million people every year.   That is an increase of 213,699 souls every day.   If you do the math, you discover that while one child is dying every three seconds, five are being born every two seconds.   The irony is, most of these children are being born in the very third world countries where the starving children “The Girl” is so concerned about are dying. 

It seems to me that while it is true that compassionate people in the developed nations ought to be concerned about children dying, perhaps we ought to be more concerned about the excessive amounts of children that are being born.  The World Overpopulation Awareness website has a great deal to say about this situation.   The following is a direct quote from their “Factoids” section.

The UN reports the world’s population is expected to increase to 9.1 billion people by 2050. The majority of the increase is in developing countries. The increase is equivalent to the combined populations of China and India today. The overall trend shows a lower rate of growth, confirming that the population is slowly stabilizing. In developed nations declining birth rates means little or no population growth except in the U.S. which benefits from a high number of immigrants, who tend to have more children. Industrial countries are expected to see little change in their population of 1.2 billion. A decline is forecast by 2050 in Germany, Italy, Japan, and the former Soviet Union. Populations in Europe would fall further were it not for immigrants, estimated at 2.2 million each year. The population of developing nations is expected to climb from 5.3 billion in 2005 to 7.8 billion by 2050. Very rapid growth is forecast in the least-developed nations. Between 2005 and 2050, the population is projected to triple in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger and Uganda. In each of these countries, women would like less children, if they had the choice.   (Italics are mine. HMH)  By 2050 India will have surpassed China in population and the two will account for 50% of the world’s inhabitants. Women in India have an average of 3 children compared to 1.7 children in China. The AIDS pandemic and other diseases are slowing population increases in about 60 developing countries. In southern Africa, where AIDS is prevalent, life expectancy has fallen from 62 in 1990-1995 to 48 in 2000-2005.      February 25, 2005   Times on Line (UK) 012959 

If this movie causes people to think about what we as a species are doing to this planet, if it causes people to rise up and speak out against political policies and religious dogmas  that block access to birth control where it is most needed (and, apparently, wanted), then it might actually accomplish its purpose. 

Meanwhile, I must pack the DVD for its next leg of its trip, to Chile.  Then I have a gallon of green beans to trim, cut, blanch and freeze.

God speed, “Girl in the Cafe”  May you continue to make people aware and make them think.

Read Full Post »

Syncopated Eyeball

Creepy Spooky Lovely Nice

Trailer Park Refugee

just three shots of tequila away from a bar fight....

Ærchies Archive - Digital Detritus

The Curmudgeon's Magazine


WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.