James Loewen - Lies My Teacher Told Me

"Lies" is about the outright lies, omissions, and boringness of US history textbooks. The book was filled to the brim with interesting historical facts mixed with a dash of outrage at the system.

Loewen loves history. That's why he's sad that history is the most hated subject in school. He blames this, largely, on history textbooks. These textbooks aren't just biased (though they are biased); rather, they take out everything interesting, including all of the controversy, all of the ideas, and anything that makes anyone seem bad.

Living with Blood on Our Hands

It's hard to live an ethical life when living in a society that is globalized and not transparent. It's also hard to live an ethical life as an imperfect person.

Seth Godin's Summer Seminar

A fellow intern at Ashoka encouraged me to apply to a seminar that Seth Godin, an entrepreneur / marketer / author / philanthropist, was putting on. I decided to apply and got a seat at the table.

Andrew Blotky - Big Supreme Court Cases

Andrew Blotky is a Stanford alumni for both undergrad and law school. He worked with Ron Wyden in the past (go Oregon!), he teaches a class on nonprofits at Stanford in Washington, and he works at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank / grassroots outreach / advocacy organization in Washington.

Being John Malkovich


I'll compare this movie to "I Heart Huckabees." "Huckabees" is also bizarre, but "Huckabees" pulls it off.

The Nature of Art

What's the point of art? There isn't just one point. The following is an attempt to categorize art based on its purpose.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

I haven't seen the previous Sherlock Holmes movie, and I haven't read any of the books, so I didn't know what to expect, but I enjoyed it.

It was very much an Adrian Monk feel with more focus on action and less on characters. There was good humor, a nice setting, and a quirky and enjoyable protagonist. All of that lets "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" pull off mixing plot, character, and action.

Lost in Translation

I didn't get it.

"Lost in Translation" presents a story where things are lost in translation (often, moderately funny) in the dialogue between Japanese and American cultures and languages. The protagonists are also unsure of their places in life emotionally and psychologically. The movie does a good job of presenting this uncertain malaise, and most of the reviews I read seem to acclaim this facet. I prefer movies that lead to greater understanding, and while the movie presented uncertainty well, I don't think that I understand it any better now.

Sleepless in Seattle

"Sleepless in Seattle" is a love story between a widower and an engaged journalist.

I enjoyed it. It had a cute kid, good romance, hilarious jokes (I particularly liked the exchange about tiramisu), and good cinematography. It didn't seem to have much of a message aside from love at first sight, though.

Seth Godin - We Are All Weird

Seth Godin wrote "We Are All Weird" to encourage people to celebrate weirdness rather than try to encourage normalcy.

He traces history of normalcy and weirdness. Before specialization, people couldn't be as weird because they had to spend time on surviving. Mass marketing through things like 3 TV channels made it easy to promote one way of being. Standardized industrialization made it profitable to encourage everyone to be the same – then you could sell to everyone. People internalize this, and a culture of normalcy became self perpetuating.


Subscribe to Sam King's Verbose Letters RSS