Derik Badman's Journal

2021-02-14 09:51

Just watched Abigail Child's Acts & Intermissions: Emma Goldman in America (2017) which is part of Anthology Film Archives' Anarchism on Film series. It's mix of sound and video, narration from Goldman's words, on screen text (her words too I assume), archival footage, contemporary documentary footage, some shots of actors (mostly just dressed up and posing). As a partial biography of Goldman it is pretty effective, more a teaser to investigate something more in depth (like her autobiogrphy), as an overview of her political thoughts and historical context it is fairly light (though it is less than an hour in length). Child does attempt give the production contemporary relevance: showcasing demonstrations and union fights (like the Fight for 15 movement) as well as showing contemporary factories and workers. These are more successful than the less clear usage of images of server rooms and internet lines (at one point cutting and double exposed with documentary footage of telephone operators), which never seem to gel into a point I could gather. I've read about Goldman in the past but never did pick up her autobiography, which I might do now.

While watching it, it (of course, somehow) started me thinking on D&D and the old school way that player characters advance in level (get stronger) via the acquisition of treasure. It's all very capitalistic, where money is the goal and money is power. It occurs to me that is a result of a rather limited subset of the inspirations for the game, and perhaps as telling as anything else as to the sources of some of the strongeest of them. Conan, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Vance's Cugel the Clever, and The Hobbit are all very much about treasure and money, but so many other fantasies really are not, most popularly The Lord of the Rings. I guess that's partially why later editions started changing the experience system to use monsters defeated, which lends itself more to a heroic type of epic stop the evil theme (but also tends to lead to more violence/combat).