Last night Andy and I went along to the Townsville Cinema Group, which shows films at a local theatre every fortnight. The films they play are often foreign, documentaries, or otherwise unlikely to show in mainstream Townsville theatres. For the price of one ticket, you get to watch two films. Last night was 'activist musician documentary night', so we went along to watch The US vs. John Lennon, and Shut Up & Sing.
Both documentaries were very good, but my favourite of the two was the first one. Previously, I thought of John Lennon as a Beatle, of course, and then as a bit of a loopy hippy guy. But this film showed a very outspoken anti-war activist who used prefigurative means of protest. He sang about peace, love, revolution. He and his wife spent their honeymoon in a bed for a week in front of the media and talked about peace to their captive audience. He also had to fight a major battle against the Nixon administration, the FBI, and the INS--purely because he made friends with radical activists like Abbie Hoffman and Bobby Seale. I had goosebumps for most of the film; this is the sort of movie that I watched as an undergrad student that unleashed my inner activist (and made me want to study this stuff). I highly recommend watching this movie.
The second one was an interesting contrast. The similarities between the Vietnam era and the Iraq war are striking, but probably not quite as striking as are the differences. Shut Up & Sing is about the Dixie Chicks and their statement in England that they are "ashamed the president comes from Texas". I remember hearing about that, and hearing all the backlash--but I didn't realise quite how intense it was. Their sales plummeted, people burned their CDs and protested outside their shows, and there was even a death threat. But, while they were pretty strongly opinionated throughout the whole saga, they were a bit apologetic, I thought. Still, it was ridiculous that they were branded as traitors, 'Dixie Sluts', and un-American. I couldn't help but wonder how different things would have been if they were men...
In other news, someone has emailed me a link to an article you may find interesting. It's called 57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan. While I think that the best reason to go vegan is ethically rather than for health, there is no denying that veganism is good for the body as well as the soul. I'll definitely be printing this out to bring to public displays of the Townsville Animals Alliance, so that when people say veganism isn't healthy I don't even have to argue with them.