KEEP THOSE FILMS COMING…
To add to everyone’s list of films on labor [“Letters,” April 16], I recommend a recent documentary about work, poverty and unionizing: Roger Weisberg’s 2005 Waging a Living: Working Overtime in Pursuit of the Elusive American Dream. It supports a discussion of some of our widespread social and economic problems. And the stories of the three women and a man depicted make it of interest for gender studies and feminist economics classes.
Cliffside Park, NJ
Has historical amnesia taken over? One of the great labor films, Salt of the Earth, made during the madness of McCarthyism and under unbelievable pressure and violence, is not mentioned by any of your letter writers. It is based on a strike in New Mexico and directed by one of the Hollywood Ten (H. Biberman). He was arrested during the filming and directed the film by letter and phone from prison. It’s the only blacklisted movie in American film history. It’s a must-see.
I’d like to add a great movie about the American working class: Blue Collar (1978), directed by Paul Schrader and starring Richard Pryor in what may be his finest film performance. Blue Collar is both a funny movie and a biting social commentary about three friends at a car plant who seek revenge against their uncaring bosses and crooked union officials. This movie is one of the best on class warfare and one of the most overlooked.
SPRING: A YOUNG MAN’S FANCY TURNS
Eric Alterman’s “The Many Man-Crushes of Chris Matthews” [April 9] was absolutely hilarious. I read it three times and couldn’t stop laughing.
I have read The Nation for years and have never read a more offensive column than “The Many Man-Crushes of Chris Matthews.” If it was meant to be funny, it wasn’t. If it was meant to be perceptive, it wasn’t. If it was meant to disparage a real friend of the left, it succeeded. Chris Matthews asks the questions that I want asked and other commentators don’t ask. Sometimes people on the left just don’t get it. Yes, I have a crush on Chris Matthews, longtime liberal–liberal that I am.