Last night, we saw The Constant Gardener. I didn’t want to see it, but since it arrived from Netflix and it was Saturday night – our big movie-watching night – I obliged. Rich is in charge of ordering movies from Netflix. He goes through various phases. For a couple of weeks, he ordered instructional videos on sailing and nautical flicks. He’s now swinging back to Indies and edgy drama.
I knew The Constant Gardener was an exceptional film that dealt with disturbing materials… something about Africa and corruption. I was hoping, however, to see something cheerful after suffering through an episode of Horatio Hornblower along with Master and Commander the night before. With a bad attitude, I curled up on the sofa to see The Constant Gardener.
It was unexpectedly absorbing, deeply disturbing and magnificently acted and directed. In a sentence, it’s about an English diplomat (who’s constantly gardening) and his activist wife who discovers that a prominent drug company is testing a new, often fatal drug on unsuspecting natives in Kenya. Throughout the movie, you wonder whether it’s really fictional. Conceivably, in countries where regulatory bodies like the FDA don’t exist, drug companies could be doing experimental testing, causing detrimental side-effects or high death rates.
It happened in the United States for 40 years. Between 1932 and 1972 (just 35 years ago!), the U.S. Public Health Service conducted an experiment in Tuskegee, Alabama, on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis. Instead of treating them, they allowed them to degenerate and eventually die. Their bodies were then autopsied to determine how syphilis affected blacks as opposed to whites. According to a news report by news anchor Harry Reasoner, the experiment “used human beings as laboratory animals in a long and inefficient study of how long it takes syphilis to kill someone.”
Even more heinous was that 40 of their wives were infected with syphilis and 19 of their children had been born with congenital syphilis. Even when penicillin became widely available to treat syphilis, the men were discouraged from seeking treatment. During World War II, 250 of the men registered for the draft and were consequently ordered to get treatment for syphilis. The Public Health Service, however, exempted them from treatment, allowing their disease to further progress.
Watching The Constant Gardener, I can’t stop myself from thinking that corporate profits and corrupt governmental policies are always going to supersede people’s rights.
It’s the day after Dell announced that there would be no bonuses for the year. Of course, I’m furious, having juggled dozens of projects for the past year that were previous done by four people. Adding to the insult was the email from Michael Dell saying we “need to reduce redundancies.” Does that mean that along with getting no bonus, we need to identify people within our groups who are redundant and should be shown the door? Possibly myself?
While I’ll miss the money, it doesn’t really matter to me because for the past few years, we’ve been making plans to return to the Pacific Northwest. For the past few months, I’ve been applying at Microsoft in hope of securing a position and leaving in late March after my bonus is paid.
Earlier this week, I received an email from a Microsoft recruiter asked whether I was interested in a position overseeing one of their blog sites. Not knowing much about blogging, I decided to do some research, starting with the history of blogging on Wikipedia. I then clicked my way through the web to various site and came to the conclusion that I was missing out on all the fun!
While I’ve been writing a monthly newsletter – Austin Adventures – to friends and family for over four years, it was becoming cumbersome. It took weeks to write and the end-result often drags on for six to seven pages. In addition, they lacked spontaneity. By only writing every few weeks, they lack the spark of detailing daily events and observations.
Last year, I finished designing a website using Microsoft Frontpage, which has yet to be published. It includes the complete collection of Austin Adventures along with my work portfolio and numerous photos and personal writings. My hesitancy to post the site, like Austin Adventures, centered on it being so static!
Microsoft offered the perfect solution… Windows Live Spaces. It’s so easy!!!
Welcome to my blog. Welcome to my thoughts, my challenges, and my life. Welcome to Rajalar