Parallax Views w/ J.G. Michael
Yellow Earth, Storytelling, and Filmmaking w/ John Sayles

Yellow Earth, Storytelling, and Filmmaking w/ John Sayles

June 16, 2020

On this edition of Parallax Views, legendary writer and filmmaker John Sayles joins us to discus his new novel Yellow Earth and other assorted topics of interest. For the uninitiated, John Sayles is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and Golden Globe-nominated filmmaker whose social conscious cinematic credits include 1980's highly influential Return of the Secaucus 7, the critically-acclaimed 1987 coal miner union drama Matewan, 1991's City of Hope, 1992's award-winning Passion Fish, the star-studded 1996 neo-western mystery Lone Star, 1997's Men With Guns, and 2010's Philippine-American War period dram Amigo among others. Additionally, John is an accomplished short story writer and novelist whose books include Pride of the Bimbos (1975), Union Dues (1977), The Anarchists' Convention (1979), Los Gusanos (1991), and A Moment in the Sun (2011).

John joins us on this edition of Parallax Views to discuss his latest novel Yellow Earth (2020; Haymarket Books), which details the volatile social changes that occur in a small town in the aftermath of a shale oil boom. A timely novel that deals with the subject of fracking, John tells us the basic plot of Yellow Earth as well giving some details on the issues that arise from fracking and the economic impacts of boom-and-bust cycles that effect people in his story as well as real life.

John and I then discuss some biographical details of his life, including being raised in Schenectady, New York. We then talk about John's thoughts on film school and how gaining experiences outside of the film world is invaluable. Additionally John and I talk a little about his coal mine union drama Matewan, his involvement in the subversive world of Roger Corman "B-Movies", the monster movie he wrote called Alligator (1980), the Ayn Rand-inspired character in Yellow Earth and why Rand's philosophy of Objectivism is so attractive to some people, what keeps him from giving into cynicism, working with the legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler, and much more.

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Never Hike Alone: A Friday the 13th Fan Film w/ Vincente DiSanti

Never Hike Alone: A Friday the 13th Fan Film w/ Vincente DiSanti

June 13, 2020

On this edition of Parallax Views, we take a break from the ruckus of currents events to take trip, an excursion if you will, down to Camp Crystal Lake. Yes, Camp Crystal Lake, otherwise known to locals as "Camp Blood"... the stomping grounds of the pop culture icon Jason Voorhees. Since the 1980s, hockey mask wearing, machete-wielding murder machine Jason Voorhees has hacked and slashed his way through enough camp counsellors to attain the status of movie monster royalty in the world of horror movies. The Camp Crystal Lake killer has even managed to spawn comic books, a video game, and, believe it or not, a board game. Unfortunately for his fans, Jason hasn't been seen on the big screen since his last cinematic appearance, 2009's Friday the 13th reboot.

That's where our guest on this edition of Parallax Views, Vincente DiSanti of Womp Stomp Films, comes into the picture. An independent filmmaker, Vincente decided that he'd make his own Friday the 13th fan film in lieu of the official cannon being caught up in legal entanglements. And thus he, with the help of a small but faithful cast and crew, made Never Hike Alone. Now you may be thinkin to yourself, "A fan film? Isn't that amateur hour?" Well, in the case of Never Hike Alone the answer is a resounding, "No." Exquisitely paced at a lean, mean 54 minute running time, Never Hike Alone is professionally produced, looks great, and arguably blows a number of the official Friday the 13th sequels out of the water. And fans seem to agree as the movie has played multiple film festivals and is now getting a web-series follow-up starting with the prequel Never Hike in the Snow.

Vincente joins us to discuss how the project came together, his experiences on set, independent filmmaking during the coronavirus pandemic, and much, much more on this fascinating edition of Parallax Views that digs into the trials and tribulations of independent filmmaking.

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Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X w/ Dr. Michael E. Sawyer

Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X w/ Dr. Michael E. Sawyer

June 11, 2020

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On this edition of Parallax Views, in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests and demonstrations it has generated, the militant Civil Rights activist Malcolm X seems as relevant as every. But was he really just an leading activist of the Civil Rights era who advocated for racial and economic justice, a staunch opposition to white supremacy, and support of Black Internationalism? Dr. Michael E. Sawyer, author of Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X, argues Malcolm X should not just be understood as an activist but also a political philosopher who engaged in a practice of "Thinking in Motion" and that this Malcolm X must be reckoned as such.

In this conversation we discuss how Malcolm X has been treated culturally and within the education system, what Malcolm X means by Blackness and being "Black Minded", Malcolm X as having a philosophy that is corporeal in nature, the role of the body and geographical space in X's thought, black masculinity, and much, much more. Additionally, we attempt to tie Malcolm X's thought to the present moment in this timely episode of Parallax Views.

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The Jakarta Method w/ Vincent Bevins

The Jakarta Method w/ Vincent Bevins

June 9, 2020

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On this edition of Parallax Views, in 1965 and '66 massacres occured in Indonesia. It was, simply put, a coup that led to a changing of the guard in regards to those who held power in Indonesia's leadership. And it was by movers and shakers in Washington, D.C. Decades later a full, crystal clear picture of what happened to Indonesia in late September and early October of 1965 still eludes us.

In The Jakarta Method: Washington's Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World, journalist Vincent Bevins, who has written for such publications as The New York Times and The Washington Post, doesn't necessarily answer all the lingering questions that remains about the Indonesian massacres and the U.S. involvement in them. He does, however, raise even more startling questions that should shake readers to their very core and make them reconsider the Cold War, the CIA, the Third World, 20th century history, and the world we inherited from the century past.

In this conversation we discuss many of the major themes an details of The Jakarta Method as well as talking about Vincent's time in Brazil where he witnessed the rise of the controversial Jair Bolsonaro. He fills us in on what the Third World Movement was, the struggle of nations like Indonesia to gain independence after WWII, and how D.C leadership, like the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover, held a paranoid view of communism during the "Red Scare" that would have an effect on the entire world. We discuss the work of two CIA figures, Howard Jones and Frank Wisner (as well as Wisner's "Gang of Weirdos"), and their role in Indonesia as well as how JFK figures into the story of the U.S.'s relationship to Indonesia in the mid-20th century. And, of course, we discuss the events leading up to the Indonesian massacre of '65/'66, the questions they've left behind, what came after those massacre (including in places like South and Central America), and what it all means in regards to the present day. All that and more on this extremely fascinating edition of Parallax Views.

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Assessing the Crisis and How We Got Here w/ Noam Chomsky

Assessing the Crisis and How We Got Here w/ Noam Chomsky

June 5, 2020

On this edition of Parallax Views, America find itself in tense times and a moment of multiple crises. From coronavirus/COVID-19 to the protests sweeping across the nation after the police killing of George Floyd, the United States has been dealing with a great deal of turmoil. But how did we get here? One of America's foremost public intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, joins us in an attempt to answer that question and provide some hope in regards to how we can respond to these interesting times.

Dr. Chomsky likely needs no further introduction. He is one of the most astute and noted critics of neoliberalism and one of Democracy's most ardent supporters. In this conversation we discuss why democracy matters (and why some hate it), the crisis that he refers to as "The Neoliberal Plague", Edward Bernays and the power propaganda exerts on our thinking, and more.

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Protests Across America w/ Tiffney Billions

Protests Across America w/ Tiffney Billions

June 4, 2020

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On this edition of Parallax Views, protests have been raging across the United States since the police killing of George Floyd. Dallas, Texas-based activist Tiffney Billions, who previously appeared on the program to discuss the police killings of Botham Jean and Atatiana Jefferson, joins us to discuss the protest both in Dallas and across the world. We also discuss the recent news story of a machete-wielding white man who attack protesters in Dallas only a few days ago. Moreover, Tiffney gives her thoughts on what can be done to bring about change, the misuse of MLK by anti-protest sentiments in the country, her thoughts on Antifa, and much, much more.

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Inventing the Future w/ Austin Hayden

Inventing the Future w/ Austin Hayden

June 2, 2020

On this edition of Parallax Views, Austin Hayden of the co-host of Owls at Dawn and Show Me the Meaning podcasts joins us to discuss Isiah Medina's Inventing the Future: A Cinematic Adaptation, an experimental, avante-garde documentary that Austin helped produce. Based on the book of the same name by scholar Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, Inventing the Future explores the possibilities of a post-capitalist. future.

Srnicek and Williams' critique the limits of leftist movements confining themselves to what they call the "folk politics" of the 1960s, and argue for going through capitalism as a means to reach news modes of being and an eventual post-capitalist society. Isiah's documentary details this premise as well as dealing with Nick and Alex's demands for full automation, universal basic income, and a rejection of the traditional Protestant work ethic. Austin and I discuss all of this as well as the cinematic aspects of the documentary, German filmmaker Werner Herzog's idea of capturing an "ecstatic truth" in the cinematic form, Jean Luc Goddard, the meaning of freedom and liberty, Japan and neoliberalism, and much, much more. All that and much more on this edition of Parallax Views.

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Killing King: Racial Terrorists, James Earl Ray, and the Plot to Assassinate Martin Luther King Jr. w/ Stuart Wexler

Killing King: Racial Terrorists, James Earl Ray, and the Plot to Assassinate Martin Luther King Jr. w/ Stuart Wexler

May 30, 2020

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On this edition of Parallax Views, in light of the recent death of George Floyd and the intense protests against police brutality and racism that followed it we take a look back at the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. with author and historian Stuart Wexler. Stuart, is the co-author, alongside Stuart Wexler, of Killing King: Racial Terrorists, James Earl Ray, and the Plot to Assassinate Martin Luther King Jr.

On April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee the civil right leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was fatally shot on the second floor of the Lorraine Motel by James Earl Ray. Ray fled the scene before eventually being caught two months later on June 8, 1968 at London Heathrow Airport. On his 41st birthday, March 10, 1969 he confessed to the assassination of MLK, Jr. Ray, who had a history of felonious conduct, was promptly convicted and sentenced to 99 years in prison for his crime. On April 23rd 1998, a 70 year old Ray finally perished at Columbia National Hospital from complications of hepatitis C.

But is that the end of the story? In the 1970s The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) argued that, while Ray was the assassin, that there was "a likelihood" that the assassination was the result of a conspiracy, although not one involving the federal government. Additionally, James Earl Ray spent the years after making his confession claiming that he was not, in fact, behind the assassination of the beloved civil rights leader and referenced a conspiracy involving a character he only referred to as "Raul". Meanwhile, William Pepper, an attorney, activist, and friend of MLK, went on to famously argue for Ray's innocence and that King's execution was an "Act of State" implicating federal government alphabet soup agencies like the CIA and FBI. Pepper even went on to represent the King family in a wrongful death suit case after the death of Ray that centered on the accusation of government culpability in the assassination.

Wexler and Hancock take a very different view of the assassination of Pepper and other who, perhaps not without reason in light of the FBI's verified COINTELPRO operations against the Civil Rights, harbor suspicions against the federal government in regards to the King assassination. Moreover, they do not argue for the innocence of James Earl Ray. They do, however, agree with the assessment of the HSCA that the King assassination was the likely result of a conspiracy.

In Killing King: Racial Terrorists, James Earl Ray, and the Plot to Assassinate Martin Luther King Jr., Wexler and Hancock make the case that King's execution was the result of a plot by white supremacist terrorists seeking to use racial terrorism as a mean by which to ignite race war. These terrorists, they argue, were driven by a strange and esoteric racist religious theology that believed in the necessity of an apocalyptic racial holy war that would leave only the white man left standing. Moreover, Wexler and Hancock claim that this network of white supremacist extremists were likely involved in other incidents of racial terror throughout the 20th century including the Mississippi Burning and the Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

In this fascinating conversation, Wexler joins us in his second appearance on the program to layout the hypothesis found in James Earl Ray, and the Plot to Assassinate Martin Luther King Jr., taking us on a journey through a labyrinth of figures and organization such as the KKK, the Dixie Mafia, segregationist attorney who advocated for racial terrorism, and others whom he believes coalesced into a loose network that brought about waves of racist violence in the 20th century including the assassination of America's most beloved Civil Right leader. All that and more on this edition of Parallax Views.

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Russia! Russia! Russia! w/ Sean Guillory

Russia! Russia! Russia! w/ Sean Guillory

May 27, 2020

On this edition of Parallax Views, since the outcome of the 2016 election the American media new cycle has often been all about, "Russia! Russia! Russia!" But what is Russia beyond the stereotypical American caricature of the sneaky nation that's been plotting against the U.S. since the Cold War? Sean Guillory of Sean's Russia Blog to provide a view of Russia divorced from both uncritical romanticism or full-on demonization. Sean explains how he became interested in Russia as well as discussing with J.G. and Casey the American perception of Russia and the reality of Russia. We also hone in on hot topics related to Russia like Vladimir Putin, Russiagate, Aleksander Dugin, and much, much more. Additionally, Sean fills us in on a documentary project he is working on and fills us in on the experience of people who lived in the Soviet Union.

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I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs, and Apocalypse Communism w/ A.M. Gittlitz

I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs, and Apocalypse Communism w/ A.M. Gittlitz

May 25, 2020

On this edition of Parallax Views, A.M. Gittlitz of the Antifada podcast joins us to discuss his new book I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs, and Apocalypse Communism (Pluto Press, 2020). For the uninitiated Posadamism is most popularly known as a strange online meme of a nihilistic and ironic bent that references communism, nuclear war, dolphins, and UFOs. If that sounds weird, well, the true story of J. Poasadas, the 20th century Argentinian communist from which the meme gets its name, is perhaps even more bizarre. It's a story of spies, lies, and, yes, communists UFO hunters that features appearances from historical figures from the controversial Argentian authoritarian leader Juan Perón to Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. Even Leon Trotsky manages to show up in A.M.'s historical overview of J. Posadas' life and times!

But why has this unusual, marginal figure within communist thought become a popular meme with alienated youths with far left-wing tendencies? A.M. tries to answer that in I Want to Believe as well and the answer may surprise. We discuss all this as well as SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), Carl Sagan, futurism, and much, much more on this wild edition of Parallax Views!

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