Tuesday, August 19, 2003

mystery movie

I'm sitting in my apartment ready to watch this DVD that was given to me by a then-stranger at ASA. The story: I was standing in one of the hotel bars around closing time, pontificating to a couple of friends about how perverse I think it is that the American Sociological Association always has its meetings in hotels that are ridiculously opulent and regularly out of the price range of non-parentally-subsidized graduate students (indeed, there are some I know who believe that ASAs should just go back and forth in alternating years between some plush hotel in Manhattan and an equally plush hotel in San Francisco). I was recreating these images of someone pacing around their hotel room, practicing this passionate talk about the plight of the working man while directing the housekeeping staff about proper turndown service and calling up the concierge to complain when the high-speed Internet didn't work. As a rhetorical flourish, I pointed to the 47-story atrium of the Marriott, which I said looked like a monument to the spinal cords of the backs of exploited poor on whom the hotel was built and whom we, as complicit conventioneers, were stomping on right now. At the close of this speech, a man I had never met before came up and said that he heard what I was saying and that he had thought something similar at the ASA meetings in Chicago last year and had made a short video montage based on it. This was what is supposed to be on the DVD that he happened to have on him and which he handed to me, along with his e-mail address. I will confess that at the time I worried that this DVD was going to turn out to be a video of some kind of scandalous material from the Netherlands and my hotel room was going to be raided and I was going to have to try to say to some skeptical Interpol agent that I didn't know what was on it and had been given it by a stranger in a hotel.

Ut oh, the DVD doesn't seem to want to play on my DVD player. It's a Mac DVD-ROM; I wonder if it needs to be played on a Mac. I wonder if it I can get Doug or Joan to let me watch it in their office.

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