Book review:

Capitalist haircut

Cosmopolis, by Don DeLillo, Scribner, 209 pp., $25

Following 28-year-old billionaire Eric Packer as he crosses Manhattan to get a haircut, Don DeLillo gives readers a tragicomic glimpse into the heart of capitalism. After waking up in his 48-room condo, Eric finds his white limo and security guards and goes crosstown for the most mundane of things.

During his all-day trip, he runs into a funeral for a musician, a presidential motorcade, an anti-WTO protest led by anarchists in rat suits, and a number of other traffic blocks. This gives him – and DeLillo – time to demonstrate a shallowness that makes Eric truly unlikable and unsympathetic. He mistreats women, having sexual encounters with several women and emotionally tormenting his new wife, he commits cold-blooded murder, and he toys with world economies, trying to make more money through controlling and devaluing world currencies.

Eric is one of the most disgusting protagonists you’ll be able to find in a book – and that’s the point. DeLillo gives a human embodiment to all anti-globalization protesters fight against; it’ll make you want to go to support the next WTO, G8 and IMF protests all the more.

– Jennifer Barnett

Movie Review:

Suppose you knew?

Amen, dir. by Costa Gavras, 2 hr. 10 min.

Suppose you knew that your own government was violating international law and all norms of human decency. What if it promoted oppression and stifled dissent, and you knew about it? Suppose that people didn’t want to believe the obvious criminality of their own government and chose, instead, to dress up in uniforms, salute one another, and wave national flags. What if people were being incarcerated, or even killed, and the situation was steadily worsening, and you knew about it?

Suppose there was a movie about government-perpetrated horrors in Nazi Germany, about people who knew, and they fought what seemed an impossible fight to convince others, and what if that movie was available in your own city.

Would you tell?

– Jim Lane

Music Review:

A clear bold call to the sleeping giant

Anne Feeney: Union Maid,

Anne Feeney’s deep conviction for the working class comes alive through her voice with a great band backing her up.

She breathes new life into some old standards in her unique way by blending reggae, country and folk into one enjoyable CD. Many of the songs are written by Feeney, who is also the lead vocal on all cuts.

This a must for anyone who works or has ever worked for a living. Uplifting and driving, “We just come to work here, we didn’t come to die,” is one song that should be piped into executive offices around the world. Anyone who ever considered crossing a picket line sure would abandon the notion upon hearing Feeney’s rendition of “Scab.”

Whoever thought that issues like eight hours of work and healthcare could sound so good?

The Anne Feeney songbook with lyrics, sheet music, guitar chords, stories and photos will be available by Labor Day 2003.

– Gabriel Falsetta


Jennifer Barnett
Jennifer Barnett

Jennifer Barnett was circulation and marketing manager of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo print edition and a member of the editorial board.

Gabe Falsetta
Gabe Falsetta

Long-time social justice activist Gabe Falsetta writes from New York City.