Stephen Cole’s Class on Environmental History/ Environmental Justice

Here’s a sampling of guest speakers for Prof. Stephen Cole’s class on “Environmental History/Environmental Justice.”  The class, a community-based learning/research course, was developed with the assistance of the Dorothy Stang Center at Notre Dame de Namur University.

The classes are held 2 – 3:15 in Saint Mary’s, Rm. 207, Notre Dame de Namur University, 1500 Ralston Ave., Belmont, CA.

All are welcome.

  • Feb. 16, Wednesday: Lauren Ornelas of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
  • Feb. 28, Monday: Gary Latshaw of The Climate Project
  • Mar. 16, Wednesday: Stephen Knight, Political Director of Save the Bay
  • Mar. 23, Wednesday: Jeff Russell of the National Resources Defense Council
  • Apr. 13, Wednesday:  Jennifer Gross, Get Healthy San Mateo County Task Force

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Gladiator” Meets “Apocalypto”: Watching Channing Tatum in “The Eagle”

The guy is not simply “an animate bologna column.”

Truly, self thinks Channing Tatum can act.

Just see for yourself, in the first third of “The Eagle” (after the first third, you can pretty much sum the movie up this way: chase, fight, chase, fight, chase, brief reversal of fortune, fight some more). But, hold on, self! Once again, you get ahead of yourself. Okey dokey, back to discussion of the movie’s first third.

As the film opens, Tatum is a raw young commander who has volunteered to lead a Roman garrison in wild, barbaric Britain of A.D. 120.  There is a battle scene that occurs early on, which is pretty exciting —  in the range of movie battle scenes, self would give it a 5 out of 10.  (The confrontation between Jamie Bell’s slave boy and a humongous gladiator —  though one cannot actually call it a battle, since only one man has a sword —  comes a close second)

Anyhoo, in the early part of the movie, Tatum displays remarkable gravitas as he goes about fulfilling his soldierly responsbilities. We see him in the privacy of his quarters as he offers smoky prayers to the ancestors, and we learn of his sworn purpose in life: to live down a deep, dark family shame (which the viewer learns about all too soon, but which self will not impart so that those who may be interested in watching “The Eagle” will experience no reduction of interest)

At some point, the homo-erotic tendencies of the ancient Romans (which self read about in Tacitus) seem on the verge of being explored, especially in a scene where slight (but also sexy) slave boy played by Jamie Bell has to hold down massive and sexy Lord and Master Channing Tatum so that surgeons can correct some botched surgery on Channing/Lord’s knee or thigh or whatever, and there is much exerting of pressure in the scene.

And then there are all those mud wrestling scenes in the wilds of farthest Britain.

Self thinks it was pretty canny of Tatum to put his hunkiness into a movie where there are no women. The handful of fetching babes are members of the wild, northern, blue-painted tribes (hence the echoes of “Apocalypto”) Tatum cannot so much as gaze upon them without being threatened with having his throat slit by aforementioned women’s obstreperous, vaguely Latino or Native American-looking relatives.

Tatum is one of those male actors whose hunkiness is paradoxically enhanced when in the exclusive presence of a company of males.  Self knows not why.  He can play a soldier.  He can play a commander.  He will ooze magnetism.  Please don’t ever put him in a rom-com.

She thinks he would have shown to very good effect in the wrestling scenes of “Restrepo”!  (Wait, that was a documentary.  Whatever.  Back to the topic at hand)

There is also a raw rat-eating scene which is heavenly —  heavenly in a cheesy sort of way, self means. Self is afraid she could not gaze over-long at the remarkably pink rat innards being ingested by the men without collapsing into a fit of uncontrollable — coughing?

At some point during the movie, self got very emotionally exercised, especially during a scene when Lord Channing and Slave Jamie have to part (to the strains of extremely schmaltzy music), and self thought:

OH NO!  Now Slave Jamie’s going to be killed for sure!

And, this is a tribute to Jamie Bell’s fine acting, that even in a cheese-fest such as this, she did feel extremely dismayed at the thought of losing his presence, even though it was probably only just five minutes before the end of the movie.

But self thinks she’d better quit right now.

All she wants to add is that the audience at the first screening in the Century 20 consisted of mostly burly, beefy, middle-aged men (Self truly was expecting more women:  fans of Channing Tatum, perhaps.  Or fans of Jamie Bell, like niece G!).  She overheard two of these men, as they exited the movie, questioning the historical accuracy of the scenes with the Britannic tribes of A.D. 120 (Self is particularly anxious to find out why the tribes living in farthest, most northernmost, coldest Britain were the tribes who wore the least amount of clothing).  Oh, how wonderful is a film like this, that can so astronomically raise the level of intellectual discourse in Redwood City!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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