Freeway Takeovers: The Reemergence of the Collective through Urban Disruption

Tropics of Meta

san-diego-5-freeway-protest Freeway protests on Highway 5 near La Jolla, CA circa Dec 2014

[Editor’s Note: Last night citizens in Chicago shut down Lake Shore Drive in protest over the Staten Island grand jury’s refusal to indict the police officer responsible for the choking death of Eric Garner. Yet in SoCal, protesters have been using the freeways as a vehicle for protest and political awareness for decades. UCSD PhD candidates Troy Araiza Kokinis and Jael Vizcarra explain the goals, meaning and context of these protests and others like them.]

Driving along the Interstate 5 in Southern California makes commuters privy to the militarization of port cities like San Diego. It is not unusual to encounter a tank headed to Camp Pendleton or a truck filled with “1.4 Explosives.” These sightings normalize the spatial coexistence of daily life with technologies of destruction. These quotidian reminders along the freeway belie the laid…

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Dallas Cowboys worth $3.2 billion dollars; would be 12th richest nation in the world.

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The Dallas Cowboys haven’t made the playoffs since 2009, yet somehow Jerry Jones’ team has once again risen in value — by 36 percent over last year — to lead the Forbes NFL Team Values list, which was released Wednesday, at $3.2 billion.

The Cowboys are atop the magazine’s rankings by a healthy margin for an eighth consecutive season, having risen in value by $900 million to become the only NFL team worth more than $3 billion.

Despite last having won a championship in 1996, the Cowboys are second in value only to Real Madrid ($3.4 billion) among all global sports franchises.

Read the entire story at ESPN.

The Giver

The_Giver_posterAlong with the rise of superhero movies, it has been Hollywood’s recent trend to take popular books and turn them into films. With the success of A Fault in Our Stars, there was significant momentum going into the release of The Giver, an award winning young adult social science fiction story by Lois Lowry. It tells the story of a utopian society turning more and more into a dystopian society, eliminating emotional depth for sameness.

The film stars Brenton Thwaites as Jonas, the story’s protagonist, who is selected to inherit the position of Receiver of Memory, the person who stores all the past memories of the time before sameness. Jonas learns the truth about his dystopian society and struggles with its weight. The book itself has been met with a range of reactions from schools in America, some of which have adopted the book as a part of the mandatory curriculum, while others have banned the book’s inclusion in classroom studies.

Although being met with mixed reviews similar to the novel, The Giver takes the filmgoer on a metaphoric journey to question the meaning of thought, memories, feelings, and appreciate its importance in making humans different and unique. It is a film that is not meant for the oblivious, as they would not appreciate its purpose. It is an intense mental journey that makes you question the purpose of society – is one already born with a purpose? If we question the status quo, are we then shunned because we will go against the grain? And if we do go against the grain, will we eventually seek paradise or be shunned by society?

What is love? What is the power of a kiss, or touch? “If you can’t feel, what is the point?”

Is The Giver a metaphor for Jesus? Why was the Chief Elder dressed in white? Is Meryl Streep Jesus? Because really, can she do anything wrong?!

As if there was a question, Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges deliver suburb performances as The Chief Elder and The Giver, respectfully. Thwaites is remarkable as Jonas. And one can’t ignore that he is strikingly handsome.

What The Giver allows the viewer to experience is deep thought and reflection into their own life on Earth – are we really living for the memories? What the film lacks in cinematographic elements it makes up in depth. This film is a phenomenal adaptation of the novel, adding to Hollywood’s continued success of adaptations, and also adding itself on my list of favorite films. | A+