Utne Reader's library is abuzz with a steady flow of 1,500 magazines, newsletters, journals, weeklies, zines, and other lively dispatches from the cultural front that are rarely found at big-box bookstores, newsstands, or even online. So we share the highlights (and occasional lowlights) of what's landing in our library each week in 'From the Stacks.' Check in every Friday for the latest edition.
Before watching Money Talks: Profits Before Patient Safety, I suspected the documentary would tell me what I already knew: that the pharmaceutical industry is sleazily convincing Americans that we need a pill for every mood, every intimation of discomfort. But Money Talks filled the gaps in my knowledge with compelling details, suggesting that things are far worse than I suspected. The 50-minute documentary is directed by John Ennis and Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau, a former sales representative for a pharmaceuticals company. They turn their camera on a group of well-spoken critics of big pharma, including doctors and an investigative journalist. The facts and figures these sources cite are startling. For instance, pharmaceutical companies now employ one representative for every four doctors in America. What's more, these companies can legally protect potentially damning results from drug test trials as 'trade secrets,' as though nasty side effects are part of the drugs' secret recipes. -- Evelyn Hampton
Published by the Documentary Organization of Canada, Point of View (POV) magazine is a good source to turn to for the latest on 'the art and business of indie docs and culture.' POV's summer edition features 'Aerial Perspective: A Window on Reality for the 21st Century,' written by documentary filmmaker Kevin McMahon. With honesty and sincerity, McMahon examines the pitfalls of documentary filmmaking while setting the stage for what he describes as the most exciting new advent in the industry: interactive media. -- Natalie Hudson
Global Journalist reports on those who report the news. The cover of the spring issue depicts a cameraperson, armed with an M16, filming a wall of flames. The image evokes the kinds of intense situations that journalists encounter throughout the world. As the magazine describes, violent conflict zones are not the only dangers confronting journalists; they also face restricted freedoms in countries like Venezuela and China (both profiled in the issue). The University of Missouri-based publication also tracks the recent deaths of correspondents in its 'Death Watch' department, and tallies global freedom-of-the-press violations in a section called 'World Watch.' -- Natalie Hudson
Since it was founded by Ralph Nader in 1980, the Multinational Monitor has been digging up the dirt on the world's corporate giants. The ad-free bimonthly features stories on business' relationship with labor, development, and the environment. The issue that arrived this week, November/December 2006, lists the 10 worst corporations of 2006, with retail behemoth Wal-Mart, pharmaceutical company Pfizer, and aircraft manufacturer Boeing all making the cut. Also in the issue, writer Charlie Cray lists the 10 worst war profiteers 'not named Halliburton' who have 'gotten fat feeding off the public trough.' -- Mary O'Regan
Culture, published twice yearly by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture (IASC) at the University of Virginia, used to be known as the INSight newsletter. According to editor and cofounder of the IASC Joseph E. Davis, both the magazine and the institute are undergoing some major changes. The spring issue excerpts a revamped vision statement explaining the institute's commitment to understanding cultural change and the concept of 'good.' The organization plans to welcome interdisciplinary conversations and receive insight from existing scholars and 'overlooked sources.' The new issue also features book reviews and an interview with director Paul Wagner in which he discusses his new film The God of a Second Chance, made with the help of the IASC, about the role of religion in a poor, primarily African American community in Washington, DC. -- Mary O'Regan