Tag Archives: Documentaries

Commemorating Women’s History Month with Documentaries featuring a New Jerseyan Nobel Laureate, Maria Ressa 

2 Mar

Hello everyone! My name is Bernadette, and I’m the new Information and Digital Services Librarian at the Hoboken Public Library. Before I came to HPL, I had internships at New York Public Library, Pratt Institute Libraries, and the independent news program Democracy Now!. In the Philippines, I worked at the National Film Archives of the Philippines and the Cinematheque Center Manila, where I developed a love for cinema that engages communities and inspires social justice and societal transformation.

COMMEMORATING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
March marks Women’s History Month, which celebrates women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. The National Women’s History Alliance designated the 2022 theme as “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” Immediately, this theme made me think of the remarkable Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, who was awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for her courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and around the world. Not only is she a Nobel Laureate, she is a Princeton alum and proud resident of New Jersey. 

As a journalist and CEO of the news outlet Rappler, she has defended human rights by shedding a critical light on Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial “war on drugs,” which has killed tens of thousands of Filipinos in the last five years. Because she exposed his administration’s track record of corruption, state-sanctioned violence, disinformation campaigns, and repression of the people, Rappler—and Ressa herself—was targeted by the Philippine government. 

Ressa’s struggle for truth, democracy, and freedom of the press in the Philippines is chronicled in two thrilling political documentaries available with a Hoboken Public Library card.

A THOUSAND CUTS
Directed by Ramona S. Diaz, the documentary A Thousand Cuts depicts the war between the press and the government, between truth and disinformation. Ressa and her team combat falsities spun by government officials seeking to lie their way to power. The Philippines’ democracy hangs in the balance—and so does Ressa’s own life and freedom. 

It is available to borrow on DVD from the Hoboken Public Library – BCCLS Libraries.

WE HOLD THE LINE
Another documentary We Hold the Line follows Ressa and her team. It gives the audience rare behind the scenes access as her team continues their brave journalism amidst threats to their work and lives. The documentary weaves together narratives from various perspectives—victims of the drug war, critical politicians in hiding, and even members of death squads commiting summary executions—to give insight into the real “war on drugs” of president Duterte.

We Hold The Line is available for streaming on Kanopy with a Hoboken Public Library Card.

IN RESSA’S WORDS
The Duterte government’s systematic crackdown on press freedom has led to 114 documented cases of attacks against media practitioners and journalists in the Philippines, including 19 killings. These attacks come at a critical time and weakens democracies globally, polluting the atmosphere of information dissemination. What can the community do when the people and the truth itself are under attack?

Ressa shared her wisdom and calls to action in her Nobel Peace Prize lecture delivered last December. “We’re at a sliding door moment, where we can continue down the path we’re on and descend further into fascism, or we can each choose to fight for a better world. … The destruction has happened. Now it’s time to build – to create the world we want.”

Written by:
Bernadette Patino
Information and Digital Services Librarian

Inspired By: The Dixie Chicks

22 Jun

Last week I saw the Dixie Chicks at Madison Square Garden. This was a concert I have been waiting to see for more than a decade!

The show was excellent and I was thrilled to hear and sing along to my favorite Dixie Chicks songs. I left the show humming “Cowboy Take Me Away”, and carrying a souvenir tote bag printed with a line from the song “Not Ready To Make Nice”.

I also left inspired to write about my favorite tracks from the Dixie Chicks’ catalog, as well as some other related music inspired by the concert.

Fly

How did a girl born and raised in Hudson County where “Wide Open Spaces” are a foreign concept come to love the Dixie Chicks? MTV, of course! The year was 1999 and I saw the music video for “Goodbye Earl” from the Chicks’ sophomore album Fly (available on CD and streaming in Freegal).

fly

Mary Ann and Wanda getting the ultimate revenge on the Wanda’s abusive* ex-husband Earl appealed to me as a baby feminist.

You can watch the video on YouTube of course and Freegal, sans commercials. Dear reader, please don’t try anything from the video at home–poisoning people is never a good idea.

Some other choice tracks from Fly:

  • “Cowboy Take Me Away”
  • “Cold Day In July”
  • “Hole In My Head”
  • “Sin Wagon”
  • “If I Fall You’re Going Down With Me”–my very favorite. I had hoped to hear this at the concert, but sadly it wasn’t on the set list. 😦

Wide Open Spaces

wide-open-spaces

The Dixie Chicks’ first album was Wide Open Spaces, released in 1998. (CD and Freegal) The title track of this record is now an anthem for women who want to spread their wings and leave home, but I am partial to “There’s Your Trouble”.

Home

home

The album Home (CD and Freegal) came out in 2002, and includes a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”. There are some sadder, more introspective songs on this record, such as “Traveling Soldier” and “Top of the World”, but “White Trash Wedding” brings levity. I think that the brash “Truth No. 2” was a precursor to the music the Dixie Chicks would make on Taking the Long Way.

Shut Up & Sing

shut-up-sing

The Dixie Chicks found controversy in 2004 when lead singer Natalie Maines made a negative statement about then President George W. Bush, which brought intense criticism and backlash from the country music community. The documentary Shut Up & Sing covers this period of the Chicks’ history.

Taking the Long Way

taking-long-way

From that turmoil came the Grammy-winning Taking the Long Way (CD and Freegal). This album was a game changer, and it is my favorite. This is a rare album I can listen to all the way through without skipping around.

Excellent tracks:

  • “Not Ready To Make Nice”
  • “Taking the Long Way”
  • “Easy Silence”
  • “Baby Hold On”
  • “Everybody Knows”

Sing “Lullaby” to your loved one, your baby, your teenager, your bae, your pet, or whomever you please.

Whenever anyone asks me, “Kerry, why haven’t you [insert milestone that others think I should have reached by now] yet?” I answer that I’m “Taking the Long Way”. Thank you, Dixie Chicks, for helping me answer that nosy but usually well meaning question!

Dixie Chicks Miscellany

If you want to dive deeper into the Dixie Chicks’ music, I recommend borrowing on DVD their VH1 Storytellers episode, where they tell the origin stories of some of their songs. I love to hear about artists’ inspirations for their work. Check out Top of the World Live (CD and Freegal) if you want to experience the Chicks in concert.

This New York Times piece about the Dixie Chicks and Kacey Musgraves as “Country Rebels” prompted me to borrow Kacey Musgraves’s recent release Pageant Material (CD and Hoopla) and savor the title track, “Late to the Party”, and “Biscuits”.

With the line “…mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy…”, “Biscuits” can serve as a good response to any nosy yet usually well meaning questions.

Are you going to any concerts this summer? Do you use song lyrics to respond to questions you’d rather not answer?

-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

*Click here for resources on domestic violence.

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