Life and the Arts

A reflection on life and the arts from a progressive perspective. Here you will find social commentary on movies, the performing arts, issues of cultural significance and life in general.

Black Actors and Filmmakers Face Enormous Obstacles in South Africa

Picture credit: The cast of Generations. Image courtesy of Facebook.com/GenerationsTVShow Anna Majavu - The imminent screening of the new look Generations TV series, which has been off the air since its producer fired the cast last month, should sound an ominous knell for every Black creative in South Africa. The 16 fired actors held talks at the CCMA last week with MMSV, the production house owned by Mfundi Vundla who axed the actors after they went on strike for residual payments (which they should have been getting all along), and for three year contracts (which were promised to them by...

Banksy: Graffitist of the White Bourgeoisie

Picture credit: A photo of graffiti by artist Banksy that appeared on Tendring District Council Arianne Shahvisi - Middle-class outrage at the recent removal of Banksy's graffiti in an area of poverty and racial tension indicates how disconnected the bourgeoisie are from the realities of working-class life in Britain, and is an example of the appropriation of subversive art forms by the elite. At the start of October 2014, UK graffiti artist Banksy's "anti-racist" stencil graffiti, presumably designed to satirize rising xenophobic sentiments in UK seaside town Clacton-on-sea, was...

Apolitical Humour? The Comedy of Joan Rivers

Picture credit: Joan Rivers courtesy djnaquin67/flickr Binoy Kampmark - They [the Palestinians] started it.  We now don’t count who’s dead.  You’re dead.  You deserve to be dead.  You started it.  Don’t you dare make me feel sad about that. – Joan Rivers, Daily Mail, Aug 8, 2014 The politics of the body, those irreverent observations about her vagina, and, well, everything else associated with the district of flesh – that was something Joan Rivers was rather good at.  She made fun of her own...

Kim Kardashian: A Fitting Symbol for Late-Stage American-Style Capitalism

Picture credit: Kim Kardashian courtesy Hot Gossip Italia/flickr Lynn Parramore - Whether she is Instagramming her butt, or spending $827,000 on gold-plated toilets for her new mansion, or in her latest exploit, posing nude on silver sheets for GQ, Kim Kardashian has the American media in a fawning frenzy of non-stop headlines. Her body! “Kim Kardashian Flaunts Cleavage In Leather Dress For Made In America” (Hollywood Life) Her money! “Kim Kardashian's $28 Million Year: How She Made More Than Ever Before” (Forbes) Her fame!...

Century of Disaster

Picture credit: Eduardo Galeano courtesy Don Usner/Lannan Foundation Eduardo Galeano - Uruguayan novelist Eduardo Galeano, a champion of the underdog, is known for his beautiful turns of phrase that read more like poetry than prose. His 2009 book, Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone, is a collection of 600 vignettes that contemplate life’s contradictions, both historical and contemporary. From Fidel Castro to the Berlin Wall, Galeano’s reflections provide a powerful and mesmerizing commentary on history, its people and its injustices. This excerpt of his book...

The World's 10 Most Dangerous Foods People Actually Eat

Picture credit: Raw cashew nuts courtesy Elements for Life Jodie Gummow - Many of us take pride in experimenting with adventurous new foods, especially when we travel abroad. But, as tempting as these mysterious delicacies can often appear, some of them can make us violently ill or even worse can be fatal.  So without further ado, here are 10 of the world’s most dangerous foods according to Conde Nast Traveler, that you can eat but probably shouldn’t. You have been warned! 1. Raw Cashews. Most of us wouldn’t hesitate to buy a bag of these...