Justice, Vengeance, and Norway

Forum Director Thane Rosenbaum wrote  piece for The New York Times about justice and vengeance in light of the tragedy in Norway. Read it here and then write us your thoughts in our comments section.

Art, Museums, and The Public Good

By Ben Falk Deaccessioning is something most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, or even really know is an issue. However, if you happen to work for a museum, in the world of fine art, or just happen to have $104 million lying around to build your art collection, chances are you have given deaccessioning a lot of thought.  So for majority of people who have no idea what deaccessioning is, here is the basic concept: deaccessioning is, generally speaking, when a museum sells part of its collection. The reason for the sale falls into two major categories: to either buy more pieces or works of greater value (i.e. selling one piece to buy two, or selling two pieces to buy one piece of more artistic value) or to pay the museum’s operating costs. It is the second reason that has become very controversial (in certain circles). At the

Tim Robbins

By Erica Zarazoga Timothy Robbins, better known as “Tim” Robbins, is an American actor, screenwriter, director, producer, and musician. Robbins grew up with a show business background, and was exposed to the culture by his mother and father. His mother, Mary Robbins, was an actress, and Gil Robbins, his father, was a singer for “The Highwaymen.” Robbins was born in California, but was raised in New York City.  He graduated from Stuyvesant High School and after graduation, he moved back to California to study drama at UCLA School of Film, where he graduated with honors. With an itch for acting and the background to support it, he began The Actors’ Gang in 1981. The Actors’ Gang was a group of aspiring actors who combined their experiences and opinions (mostly radical political observations) to form an experimental theater group. Robbins is still revered today as a tried and true liberal activist.

"Absence of Malice": Is Democracy Served?

By Ben Falk Sydney Pollack’s wonderful film, “Absence of Malice,” makes a good, if not slightly depressing, point. At the beginning of the film, The Miami Standard’s lawyer explains to Megan Carter (Sally Field), a reporter at the newspaper, that the subject of her article, Paul Newman’s Michael Gallagher, is unable to do the paper “harm.” “We have no knowledge the story is false, therefore we’re absent malice. We’ve been both reasonable and prudent, therefore we’re not negligent. We can say what we like about him; he can’t do us harm. Democracy is served.” Implicit in this monologue is the question: is this right? The answer, while demonstrated by the events that follow, is stated specifically at the film’s end, when Assistant U.S. Attorney General James Wells (Wilford Brimley) explains, “You know and I know that we [the law] can’t tell you [the press] what to print or what not

Sydney Pollack

By Chloe Sarnoff Syndey Pollack is a cinematic icon.  Over the course of his lifetime, he was a soldier, teacher, actor, writer, producer and Academy Award winning director. Mr. Pollack was born in Indiana, in the early 1930’s.  His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants and had absolutely nothing to do with the world of entertainment.  As a young man, Mr. Pollack moved to New York to study acting, and even eventually taught acting, after he returned from fighting overseas. In one of his earliest films, War Hunt, Mr. Pollack acted alongside Robert Redford, and the two established a friendship that would last a lifetime. Robert Redford even starred in two of Mr. Pollack’s most successful movies, Out of Africa and The Way We Were.  Out of Africa received eleven Academy Awards nominations and an astonishing seven awards, including Best Direction for Mr. Pollack’s work. Mr. Pollack also proved that he could

Innocent in the Eyes of the Jury

By Erica Zaragoza It is the case that has captivated the hearts of people across the nation – the brutal, senseless murder of 2 year old Caylee Marie Anthony. I first heard about the trial from my best friend who, after one briefing of the evidence and facts, was completely enveloped in the story. There was not a single doubt in her mind that Casey Anthony had premeditated and executed the murder of her own daughter. This sentiment seemed to be the consensus among most people following the case. The evidence: Facebook and Twitter were buzzing with less than friendly remarks about the jurors, and Casey, once the verdict was read. Onlookers called them to the dumbest jury since the OJ Simpson trial. Why did a nobody, like Casey Anthony, cause such controversy in the media and pull the heart strings of America? Was it the crime itself? Casey’s personality

Farewell to "In the Arena"

By Chloe Sarnoff Recently, CNN announced that Eliot Spitzer‘s show, “In the Arena” will be cancelled and replaced by “Anderson Cooper’s 360,” which will be moved into the 8pm time slot. Spitzer’s show has been around since October of 2010 and was originally entitled “Parker Spitzer,” and was co-hosted by Kathleen Parker.  Parker was fired from the show when ratings proved to be less than desirable and the title was changed to “In the Arena”.  Ratings are also to blame for CNN’s decision to cancel “In the Arena.” Unfortunately, Spitzer’s quick and interesting approach to his show seems to have been unable to appeal to a wide enough audience.  The cancellation of “In the Arena” is a true loss to anyone and everyone who is able to appreciate the smart, thorough and insightful interviews that Spitzer held over the course of the past year.  The Forum, who hosted Spitzer as

Why We Watched

By Ben Falk There are a few cases, that didn’t star a celebrity, which managed to catch our collective attention quite like Casey Anthony’s. Mary-Kay Letourneau’s trial is an example, but its weirdness (and its oddly happy ending) is probably the reason why we watched. The Oklahoma City Bombers’ trial is another, but the tragedy and magnitude of their crimes place it in a different category all together. Outside of those two, I just don’t know of another case that touched a nerve in quite the same way. So the question remains: why? I imagine the pundits are correct, we watched because she was relatable, she seemed like one of us, and she led (so we thought) a fairly normal life. Perhaps, shockingly and horrifyingly, we saw some of ourselves in her. Unfortunately however, when we watched Casey Anthony’s case as closely as we did we ended up not liking

Nuclear Fusion & Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

By Chloe Sarnoff With the tremendous number of movies that hit the box office each year, comes a dire need for writers and directors to give the audience something they haven’t seen before. Whether it be a flying car, man-eating robot or antidote to a terrible disease, we go to the movies to be entertained and see a world that is different from our everyday lives. However, sometimes the seemingly impossible ideas we see on the screen are actually feasible.  The New York Times just published an article describing the concept of nuclear fusion which appeared in Oliver Stone’s, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.  To read this article click here.  To learn more about Oliver Stone and his film, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, click here for the Forum’s take on the movie and the man behind it.

Can't get enough of Casey Anthony?

By Chloe Sarnoff All anyone can talk about these days is Casey Anthony’s trial and the fact that she managed to achieve the impossible: get off scot free.  This case has something for everyone.  It has intrigue, suspicion, unanswered questions, and more drama than one article can handle.  To help quench your thirst for more of the Casey Anthony trial, click here to read Forum Director, Thane Rosenbaum’s article in The Huffington Post.