Monday, June 27, 2011

knowledge is power.

The following details spell out a true story:

Boy is a brilliant techy nerd. Boy surprises Girl with Apple TV for one of Girl's Christmas presents. Girl proceeds to watch any and all documentaries, ranging from ecological issues to historical dramatic tales, available at the breezy touch of a button. Girl is very happy. Boy is immensely proud of self.

Even better, Girl now showers Boy with endless knowledge of random historical disasters and environmental crises. Couple prepares to take on the world with their new-found insight.

Okay, so not so much. But it's really cool.

[here's a little spiel about Apple TV, if you're unfamiliar... better yet, I'll post about it soon.]

I am a self-professed documentary nerd. I absolutely love learning about anything--in fact, the main thing preventing my return to graduate school is the fact that I have no clue how to hone in on merely one degree focus! After Sean surprised me with my Apple TV, hardly a week has passed without me having delved into a new topic via the small screen. Secondly, I've been inspired by the fact that one of my all-time favorite bloggers is a documentary nerd like myself. Here is a round-up of the recent stories I've followed:

Food, Inc., explains the processes, sciences and (lack of) regulations regarding mass production of food within the United States. Mister had recommended this to me for a while and we just watched it together last night--lemme tell ya, it'd be really difficult to get this Texas girl to give up her filets and burgers, but this movie has me thinking twice about what I put into my body.

Picture Me follows an impressionable young model through her budding career, and divulges secrets about the "oh-so-glamorous" world of fashion. [Fact: this girl makes up to $150,000 a day for flaunting her face. Blows my mind.]

The Business of Being Born
covers the apparent trend in obstetrics to ditch post-birth care and comfort in favor of efficiency. As someone who plans to have a houseful of babies later in life, this was incredibly insightful to me. I've always assumed that with pregnancy comes doctors and professionals fawning over you in order to insure a perfect experience. This warns of the alternative.

The Cove tells of the tragic dolphin-farming industry in Japan. I know it sounds a little PETA-esque, but this one was particularly evocative. I'm a bleeding heart animal freak, and to learn about the heinous practices surrounding dolphin trading and farming was mind-blowing.

Facing Death is a sobering account of several families spending their final days with ill family members. Years ago, intensive care units were the go-to places for the stricken to heal, whereas now, ICU is where many, many patients tend to live their final days. It also delves into the brilliance of modern medicine, and how machines have the capabilities of sustaining human life--but at what quality?

Climbing Redwood Giants appeals to my inner-granola-hippie. I grew up watching National Geographic documentaries with my grandparents, and this one was particularly intriguing to me. At a young age, I remember seeing photos of cars driving through the trunks of these trees and was completely enthralled, and this movie chronicles the growth and development of these trees over the past several centuries. [my synopsis seems a little yawn-worthy, I know, but trust me, it was good!]

Some of my favorite documentaries are based on incidents or eras that I never knew existed. Triumph at Carville describes a time in America when leprosy victims were exiled from all that they'd known, and many of them, sent to Carville, Louisiana, where they were housed and treated on an abandoned plantation. The "leprosarium" has since been made a museum, and the stories of the patients are heart-wrenching.

Girl 27 explains the story of Patricia Douglas, a young girl who was raped at an MGM Event in the 1930s. The movie labels more or less owned Hollywood at the time, and Douglas's story was all but quashed for decades, due to the powerhouse men operating the world around her. This was particularly haunting, as it serves as a prelude to current day... it's estimated that 60% of incidents are never reported to police, and 15/16 rapists will never serve a day in jail for their crimes [RAINN].

Another Frontline feature, The Old Man & The Storm describes Herbert Gettridge's attempt to save his home and family, post-Hurricane Katrina. After the massive disaster, Gettridge's huge and once-close-knit family was forced to scatter across the country, not knowing if and when they'd return to their roots. The story follows 82-year-old Gettridge's story, along with the political confusion surrounding the compensation for thousands of victims just like himself.

Once again, I'm a sucker for the stories I'd never heard about. Triangle Fire describes the worst industrial disaster in New York City, until 9/11. The factory employed over 500 people, many of them young immigrant women. In March 1911, a fire broke out, killing 146 people in the building, most of whom couldn't escape due to factory doors being locked, insuring they remained at work during factory hours. The tragedy forced legislation to better factory conditions.

What about you? Are you into documentaries? What are your favorite topics to learn more about?


  1. I love this post - I'm a docu nerd for sure! Our netflix queues are nearly identical. I've been on a total docu binge lately. Since you're into design/style etc you might want to check out Helvetica and Objectified, those are super interesting.

    Also there is a docu series I'm obsessed with on PBS called FRONTLINE that is all about current news events (kind of like a smart version of 20/20). They have full episodes you can watch online.

  2. Did you ever watch Supersize Me? I will never.ever look at a McDonald's parfait the same way ever again. Ever. haha

  3. LOVE your new look!!!!!!!!!! :)


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