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                                                                                       No More
                                                         Find it!                      Where That
                                                                                       Came From
                                                           Z                           Dear sirs:
                                                                                          Michael Miner’s excellent
                                                                                       overview of the issues
                                                                                       involving Great Lakes water
                                                                                       resources [“They Need It.
                                                                                       We Waste It,” January 13]
                                                                                       left out one pertinent fact:
                                                      The New Reader Classifieds       90 percent of all the water
                                              | section 4   in the five lakes is the result
                                                                                       of runoff from receding
                                                                                       glaciers during the time
                                                                                       when the Ice Age ended.
                                                                                       Thus in the intervening
                                                                                       10,000 years only 10 percent
                                                                                       of the water volume of
                                                                                       the Great Lakes is due to
                                                                                       rainfall and inflow from
                                                                                       rivers and streams.
                                                                                          The inadvisability of any
                                                                                       large-scale diversion of Great
                                                                                       Lakes water to both future
                                                                                       freshwater supplies and to
                                                                                       commercial navigation is
                                                                                       obvious. All of us who are
                                                                                       residents of the Great Lakes
                                                                                       basin, whether Canadian or
                                                                                       American, should take an
                                                                                       active role in advocating for
                                                                                       the passage of the Great Lakes-
                                                                                       Saint Lawrence River Basin
                                                                                       Water Resources Compact
                                                                                       by contacting our respective
                                                                                       elected representatives.
                                                                                       Chet Alexander

                                                                                       PS: This is not a new issue.
                                                                                       While vacationing in a number
                                                                                       of western states in 1982
                                                                                       and 1984 (both election
                                                                                       years) I read and heard of a
                                                                                       number of candidates for
                                                                                       public office who advocated
                                                                                       diverting Great Lakes water
                                                                                       to the west. One proposal
                                                                                       envisioned the construction
                                                                                       of a pipeline from the western
                                                                                       tip of Lake Superior at Duluth,
                                                                                       Minnesota, that would supply
                                                                                       water to the Dakotas, Montana,
                                                                                       and Wyoming.

                                                                                           I must tell you of my intense
                                                                                       pleasure, which is your weekly
                                                                                       columnist gone wackadoo . . .
                                                                                       a certain Lizzy A [Chicago
                                                                                       Antisocial]. Is it just moi? Or
                                                                                       is she amazing and exquisite?
                                                                                       The latter suffices, methinks.
                                                                                       Either way, please be assured
                                                                                       of something: I pick up the
                                                                                       Reader every Thursday for one
                                                                                       reason—Liz Armstrong and
                                                                                       her stimulating and colorful
                                                                                       take on pop/art culture.
                                                                                           I love that Bitch and her
                                                                                       Printers Row
                                                                                                                                                      CHICAGO READER | FEBRUARY 17, 2006 | SECTION ONE 27

 Movies                                                              Art                                                              Theater
                   Eugene              Jarecki’s                                                 Yutaka Sone                                            TimeLine Theatre Company’s
                                                                                                  at the                                                        Guantanamo:
                                  Why                                                              Renaissance                                                 Honor Bound to
                                 We Fight                                                         Society                                                      Defend Freedom
                               REVIEW BY J.R. JONES                                                    REVIEW BY BERT STABLER                                      REVIEW BY JUSTIN HAYFORD

                                                                                                              a                                                                    a
                                                                                                                29                                                                    30

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY EUGENE JARECKI                                                                                                                                     RATINGS
                                                                                                                                                                           ssss MASTERPIECE
                                                                                                                                                                           sss A MUST SEE
                                                                                                                                                                           ss WORTH SEEING
                                                                                                                                                                           s HAS REDEEMING FACET
                                                                                                                                                                           • WORTHLESS

Bringing the War Home
Eugene Jarecki, the director who stuck it to Henry Kissinger,
puts it to the people in Why We Fight.
By J.R. Jones

       ugene Jarecki made a name         replacing the villain at the movie’s
       for himself on the art-house      core are a half-dozen private indi-
       circuit a few years back with     viduals Jarecki picked up along
The Trials of Henry Kissinger, a         the way, and their very human
stinging indictment of the former        relationships with America’s mili-
secretary of state as an architect       tary machine demonstrate the
and instrument of President              depth of the problem.
Nixon’s rapacious foreign policy.           Jarecki borrowed his title from
But in talking with audiences at         the series of short indoctrination
screenings, Jarecki began to feel        films Frank Capra directed for the
his 2002 film had missed the             U.S. military during World War II.
mark. “I was surprised how much          For Capra the title was a state-
people wanted to talk about              ment, and a decidedly uncritical
Henry Kissinger the man rather           one. (“This isn’t just a war,” a nar-
than the system he represents,” he       rator announces in one short.
says in press notes for his new          “This is a common man’s struggle
film, Why We Fight. “This time, I        against those who would put him
wanted to make a film that would         back into slavery.”) Jarecki turns
not offer a simple villain, but          the title into a question, posing it
instead invite viewers to look           to nearly everyone he interviews        Why We Fight
more broadly at the system itself.”      and providing a much-needed
   Why We Fight makes good on            through line for his bulging narra-     screech of the wheels the moment       support himself and go to col-         though the second was later dis-
this ambition, opening with              tive. “We fight for the principle of    when the train turned a corner         lege—there’s a poignant sequence       proved, were the basis for the
President Eisenhower’s prophetic         self-determination,” President          and Sekzer first glimpsed the          in which he packs up his cheap         escalation of U.S. involvement in
1961 farewell speech, in which he        Johnson declares in a speech about      World Trade Center belching black      knickknacks, with their child-         Vietnam—introduces Sekzer’s
identified the military-industrial       Vietnam. “We fight because it’s         smoke. “I’m just thinking to           hood memories, and takes them          memories of serving as a helicop-
complex as a threat to democratic        necessary, and because it’s right,”     myself, How did my son get out of      to a storage center before ship-       ter door gunner in that war.
governance, and following this           says smiley Bill Kristol. But those     there? Well, I don’t know how, but     ping out. On-screen the recruiter      “From the perspective of a heli-
premise through 9/11 and the             are the short answers. The long         he got out of there. There’s no two    who signed Solomon up confides         copter,” he says, “you’re up x-num-
Iraq war. Jarecki looks at the           one, articulated mostly by author       ways about that. He can’t be in        that it’s hard to win the recruits’    ber hundreds of feet, and you’re
arms industry’s cozy relationship        and CIA vet Chalmers Johnson            there. Because anybody who’s in        trust. But as Jarecki revealed dur-    shooting at little dots that are
with Congress and visits one of          (Blowback: The Costs and Con-           there is gonna die.” After a clip of   ing a recent local appearance,         running around. You’re not shoot-
the neocon think tanks where the         sequences of American Empire), is       President Bush’s bullhorn moment       cadets at a West Point screening       ing at somebody face-to-face. It’s
Bush Doctrine was hatched. He            that we fight because our domestic      at Ground Zero, Sekzer tells           of Why We Fight laughed aloud          almost like they’re not real human
revisits Dick Cheney’s career with       economy has been structured             Jarecki, “Somebody had to pay for      at some of Solomon’s mistaken          beings. They’re objects.” From
Halliburton and the administra-          around war since World War II.          this. Somebody had to pay for 9/11.    impressions about what he’d be         here Jarecki introduces Ahn
tion’s massaging of the facts in the        But for some of the people draft-    I want the enemy dead. I want to       doing in the army.                     Duong, who came to the U.S. at
case against Saddam Hussein. He          ed into the film, the answer to         see their bodies stacked up for          Fluidly edited by Nancy              age 15 after her family was evacu-
listens respectfully to political        Jarecki’s question lies closer to       what they did, for taking my son.”     Kennedy, Why We Fight inter-           ated from Saigon in April 1975.
commentators both right                  home. Wilton Sekzer, a retired            If Sekzer’s motivated by mis-        weaves these personal stories not      Her story might seem like a facile
(Richard Perle, William Kristol,         New York City cop, recalls riding       placed vengeance, 23-year-old          only with history but with one         rebuke to Sekzer if not for the fact
John McCain) and left (Gore              the elevated train into the city from   William Solomon is simply mis-         another, yielding some choice          that she’s now a navy explosives
Vidal, Charles Lewis, Dan Rather)        Queens the morning of 9/11.             placed. His mother’s recent death      ironies. A clip of President           expert, part of the team that
as they review 60 years of               Jarecki combines his voice-over         has left him without any family,       Johnson announcing attacks             developed the “bunker-buster”
American realpolitik and weigh in        with footage of Sekzer on the train     and he’s enlisted in the army          against two American ships in the      bombs heralded at the beginning
on the current conflict. But             itself, re-creating down to the         because it’s the only way he can       Gulf of Tonkin—attacks that,           continued on page 28


continued from page 27                       Iraq indicating that scores of civil-   of patriotism, of a deep desire for      perspective. But the war in Iraq          ment and remind us that in a
of Operation Iraqi Freedom.                  ians were killed by U.S. precision      revenge for what happened to my          had nothing to do with the war on         democracy no one can shrug off
  Not every character pays off               weapons in the early days of the        son,” he says. “But I was so insane      terrorism.” Of the private individu-      responsibility for the war. When
                    emotionally:             war. The point may be valid, but it     with wanting to get even, I was          als Jarecki brought into the film,        Jarecki heads into flyover country
Why We Fight Jarecki’s treat-                feels rhetorical.                       willing to believe anything.” Asked      Kwiatkowski has been the most             for some quick man-on-the-street
WHERE               ment of two                More effective are those charac-      if he regrets his request, Sekzer is     public; since stepping down as an         interviews, the answers he gets
Landmark’s          U.S. fighter             ters with an actual story arc—like      forced into the excruciating posi-       officer on the Iraq Desk in April         are obscenely disengaged. “I think
Century Centre      pilots who ran           Sekzer, who responded to Bush’s         tion of parroting the administra-        2003 she’s made the rounds of             we fight for ideals and for what
& Century 12        the first bomb-          assertion of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link      tion’s line: “No, because I acted        national media alleging that the          we believe in,” says one man,
and CineArts 6      ing mission of           by asking the military to inscribe      under the conditions at that time.       Pentagon’s Iraq intelligence was          glancing nervously at the camera.
WHEN Daily          Operation Iraqi          his son’s name on a weapon head-        Was it wrong? It was wrong, but I        manipulated by a group of neo-            “I hope that’s what it is.” Another
                    Freedom is               ed for Iraq. In no short time he got    didn’t know that.”                       conservative Cheney appointees            replies, “I’m not sure if we’re fight-
notably stilted. Identified only as          a message reporting that a 2,000-          The last of Jarecki’s key subjects,   calling themselves the Office of          ing for the oil or not. We could be,
Fuji and Tooms, they recount their           pound guided bomb had been              Karen Kwiatkowski, recounts sim-         Special Plans (her charges were           we could not be. The government
secret mission but shrug off the             dropped in loving memory of his         ilar disillusionment. Now retired,       dismissed by the Senate Select            has more knowledge than I
question of why they fight. “It’s not        son and “met with 100 percent           she was a lieutenant colonel in the      Committee on Intelligence).               know.” Perhaps if more people
ours to decide,” says one. “We do            success.” When the president later      air force working for the Pentagon         Despite Jarecki’s varied success        had to sacrifice life and limb—or
what we’re told.” Jarecki ultimately         denied any link between Iraq and        when it was hit on 9/11. “It was a       in bringing these six people’s sto-       sacrifice anything at all—the rea-
yanks the rug out from under them            9/11, Sekzer was stunned. “The          very dramatic and terrible thing,”       ries to life, their stories personalize   sons to fight, or not, would regis-
with statistics and footage from             government exploited my feelings        she says. “And it does change your       our current geopolitical predica-         ter more clearly. v
                                                                                                                                                              CHICAGO READER | FEBRUARY 17, 2006 | SECTION ONE 29


Snow Job
Arty partier Yutaka Sone delivers a winter meditation fit for the mall.
By Bert Stabler

    ntroducing Yutaka Sone
    before a talk at the art star’s
    Renaissance Society opening,
curator Hamza Walker pleaded
eloquently for the cultural reha-
bilitation of “bankrupt” and
“exhausted” natural icons. But
Sone’s installation, “Forecast:
Snow,” comes closer to perform-
ing last rites for its subject than
redeeming it. This Japanese
native now living in LA interprets
snow through cliched, nonde-
script paintings and drawings of
snowflakes, skiing-related diora-
mas, a snowman on skis, fake
snowballs, a pine forest “planted”
in snowbanks, and several
snowflake sculptures that evoke
nothing so much as giant design-
er paperweights realized in crys-
tal, marble, and, to keep it real,
papier-mache. The show is like a
combination craft store, gift bou-
tique, and sporting goods store. It
puts us at the mall, the place

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    COURTESY OF THE RENAISSANCE SOCIETY
where snow has diplomatically
replaced faith-based imagery as a
symbol of “the holidays.”
   In fairness Sone said during his
talk that his aim is only to enter-
tain and perhaps enchant the
viewer. At that he’s fairly success-
ful: in an essay Walker calls Sone’s
work “straight-up fun . . . no          Snowman, ski-lift sculpture (detail), untitled acrylic painting, and giant crystal snowflake from “Forecast: Snow”
strings attached.” And after all, as
we’re told, Japanese art isn’t          ham-handed drawings and                    learning institution he attended            stacked furniture inspired by a         just plain bad painting Ski
policed for distinctions between        maquettes, the carved pieces had           plus his childhood home—a                   scene in the Spielberg movie, by        Madonna is being used this
fine and commercial art the way         to have been entirely outsourced           tongue-in-cheek expression of his           having it fabricated mechanically       season on Aspen lift tickets.
Western art is. But much Japanese       even though he also said he partic-        psychology in which blank spaces            from digital code. In a thoughtful         It’s obnoxious for Sone to come
art, from ukiyo-e woodcuts to           ipated in the final detail work. Like      represent repressed memories. But           comment on sweatshops, he later         off as Jeff Koons without the irony.
manga to film, has used snow and        Sone’s artisan-made marble carv-                                   Sone’s clean,       had the piece re-created in wax by      But you can’t be too hard on an
other natural phenomena in stun-        ings of Los Angeles freeway inter-         WHEN Through            simplified,         Thai craftsmen, in grass by a New       international celebrity who makes
ning and moving ways regardless         changes, shown at the LA Museum            Sun 4/9: Tue-Fri        styleless           York artist, and in toilet paper by a   snow cactuses with kids. He’s obvi-
of its intended audience. If Sone’s     of Contemporary Art in 2003, his           10 AM-5 PM, Sat-        models don’t        New Mexico prison inmate.               ously just a party dude—or at least
installation isn’t beautiful or ugly,   ski dioramas evoke nothing so              Sun noon-5 PM           approach              Sone may not view his mission         that’s the persona he presents. He
tragic or funny, what is it?            much as the intricately carved ele-        WHERE Renaissance       Kelley’s for        the way Kelley and Pfeiffer do          once videotaped himself and his
   It’s about knickknacks—and the       phant tusks prized by 19th-century         Society, Univ. of       elegance,           theirs. If skiing recurs in the         friends throwing a series of birth-
best knickknack is a fancy knick-       European and American collectors           Chicago, 5811           insight, or         Renaissance Society exhibit, it’s       day parties—and perhaps because
knack. The most striking objects in     of chinoiserie. There’s a lot to look      S. Ellis, 4th flr.      even cyni-          central to his next one, “X-Art         of the work’s “exuberance” or
“Forecast: Snow” are two delicate       at, but not much to see.                   PRICE Free              cism. Instead       Show,” which opens February 16 at       Fluxus-like “economy of gesture,”
marble carvings, one of a ski lift         The diorama format does pre-            INFO 773-702-8670       they’re             the Aspen Art Museum in                 this self-indulgent, banal claptrap
and one of the San Moritz ski           sent challenges for the artist. A          MORE U. of C. physics generic win-          Colorado. There families will be        was acclaimed worldwide. Like
resort. Like the carved marble and      model suggests lowbrow handi-              professor Heinrich      ter-themed          invited to build “snow cactuses”        many other inbred worlds, the art
crystal snowflakes, these were fab-     craft and/or an alienating institu-        Jaeger gives a free     marketing           with Sone on the museum’s               world is often more likely to reward
ricated by workers in China. But        tional or corporate purpose. Still,        lecture on the sym-     awaiting a          grounds, and on Sunday, after           charisma (especially in nonthreat-
unlike traditional master artists in    many artists have used these               metry of crystals       product to          Sone’s Aspen Powder Cactus              ening males) than ability, subtlety,
the West or Japan, who closely          aspects of the form to great and           Sun 2/26, 2 PM.         shill. Nor          Band performs, two giant dice           intelligence, or even hipness. Sone
supervise or supervised their fabri-    often amusing effect. Mike Kelley                                  is Sone’s           will be transported to Buttermilk       likes snow, he likes skiing, he likes
cators, Sone visited the factory        in his (also all-white) architectural      approach to subcontracting of any           Mountain by helicopter and              art, what the hell. At least the
“four times a year,” he said during     model Educational Complex incor-           real interest. Paul Pfeiffer created        rolled down a snowboarding              Chicago show lacks an inflatable
his talk. And judging from his own      porated structures from every              Poltergeist, an off-white diorama of        half-pipe. To top it all off, Sone’s    motorized snow globe. v

                                                                                                                                                                          Give it away!

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