Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ink, the film: it'll give you a good, old-fashioned mind blowing

Yeah, ok, I know, it's corny, but it's still true: these days it really is getting harder and harder to impress.

You've got movies with jaw-dropping 3-D special effects that cost more than WWII to make. You've got cute kittens, juggling otters, and incredible street performers on youtube. You've got prime-cut political spectacles like Christine O'Donnell, Rand Paul, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and a nonstop parade of bizarreness coming out of North Korea that would be genuinely hysterical if it didn't scare the shit out of you. And 24 hours a day you've got pundits screaming at each other on cable, bloggers predicting the end of the world on teh interwebs, genuine economic catastrophes, terrorism, environmental disasters, sex scandals, new planets being discovered, The Military History Channel, and other assorted random relentless wtfage.

How the heck you gonna compete with all that? How do you even get freaking noticed? And, once noticed, how do you actually manage to do anything that is able to capture and hold the attention except at the crudest level of base instincts and feral emotionality?

And then along comes something like Ink. If you haven't seen it, don't worry, I'm not going to reveal what happens. But I will reveal this much: for the first portion of the movie you might find yourself wondering, alternatively: (1) what is happening?, (2) what just happened?, and (3) is anything going to happen? But you also will not be able to look away.

Just see it. OK?

Positive receptions:
Movies I would put in the same exalted category as Ink:


Directed byJamin Winans
Produced byJamin Winans
Executive Producer:
Kiowa K. Winans
Associate Producer:
Laura Wright
Written byJamin Winans
StarringChris Kelly
Quinn Hunchar
Jessica Duffy
Music byJamin Winans
CinematographyJeff Pointer
Editing byJamin Winans
StudioDouble Edge Films
Distributed byDouble Edge Films
Release date(s)United States
January 23, 2009
Running time106 minutes
CountryUnited States


Is Islam a Religion of Peace? Uh, no.

On October 6th Intelligence Squared hosted a debate on the proposition that "Islam is a religion of peace." Arguing in favor were Zeba Khan and Maajid Nawaz, arguing against were Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Douglas Murray.

Audience members were polled before and after the debate:

41% FOR 
36% FOR 

The Intelligence Squared website has the complete debate video, the complete transcript, and also background information on the debate participants (you can also purchase a DVD of the debate for just 20 bucks).

Here are descriptions of each of the four panelists in the debate:

Debaters for the motion:

Zeba Khan is a writer and advocate for Muslim-American civic engagement. Born and raised in Ohio by devout Muslim parents, she attended Hebrew school for 9 years all while actively participating in her local Muslim community. In 2008, she launched Muslim-Americans for Obama, an online network to mobilize Muslim-American voters in support of the Obama presidential campaign. Since then, she continues to work on issues of Muslim-American civic engagement and was recognized for her work by the American Society for Muslim Advancement as a 2009 Muslim Leader of Tomorrow.
Maajid Nawaz is director of the Quilliam Foundation. Formerly, Nawaz served on the UK national leadership for the Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), and was involved in HT for almost 14 years. He was a founding member of HT in Denmark and Pakistan and eventually served four years in an Egyptian prison as a “prisoner of conscience” adopted by Amnesty International. In prison, Maajid gradually began changing his views until finally renouncing the Islamist Ideology for traditional Islam and inclusive politics.

Debaters against the motion:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia and raised a devout Muslim. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992 and served as a member of the Dutch parliament for 3 years. She has since become an active critic of fundamentalist Islam, an advocate for women's rights and a leader in the campaign to reform Islam, establishing the AHA Foundation in 2007.
Douglas Murray is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist. He is also founder and director of the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC), a non-partisan think-tank in Westminster, London, which focuses on radicalization and has published work on both Islamist and far-right extremism.