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Meaningful Movies

We had been meaning to see Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next?’ and were glad to see that Mt. Baker Community Club was presenting it in their Meaningful Movies series. The film depicts a non-military invasion of a selection of countries that seem to have solved thorny issues that we continue to deal with and disagree about.

One of the most interesting features was the visit to Norway to learn about their prison system. It’s a relatively open system and the “inmates” each have their own room with bed, desk, books, radios, posters on the wall…much like your teenager’s room. Moore visits the kitchen where inmates are preparing the next meal; he makes some jokes about the large knives being handled by a convicted murderer. In Washington State, meals are contracted to an outside service and although the inmates are supposed to get job training, the only “skill” they develop is heating the food in a microwave, not exactly a skill to tout on one’s resume.

Inmates are helped to find apartments before their release and support in finding employment. Recidivism is low. None of the prison sentences came anywhere near the draconian length of sentences given in this country (unless it’s a white collar crime).

The differences with our system are glaring, as our prison system seems based on some Dickensian punishment and dehumanization approach. Other segments looked at Finland’s educational system, Italy’s workers’ benefits and Iceland’s refusal to bail out the banks. A very interesting film; highly recommended!

The December film comes rather early in the month on Dec. 1 at 6:30. It’s “What Would Jesus Buy?” a topical film for the hectic Christmas season as “Reverend Billy” travels the country in an effort to stop the SHOPOCALYPSE. And I am avoiding Black Friday by sitting at my computer working on the December Leschi News!

~Diane Snell

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