Journalist Jesse Fruhwirth got fed up with the corporate nature of media. As a writer for City Weekly, he felt increasingly disenfranchised and alienated by that job.
“I had to leave to save my life,” he says bluntly. “Reporters aren’t allowed to tell anyone how they feel. I found mainstream media stifling in the way it’s practiced. The entire industry is soul crushing.”
He decided to become a community organizer, taking on the entrenched political establishment. He sees a parallel between the two paths.
“Mainstream journalism is locked into conventions that are no longer useful. The two main parties are the same way. Both have been captured by corporate interests where the real power is in those systems.”
Most recently Fruhwirth worked against Jane Marquart’s candidacy for Vice-Chair of the Utah Democratic Party because of her ties to the private prison industry. Activists disrupted the election at the Central Committee meeting and Marquart eventually lost to Josie Valdez.
Social media exploded during and after that meeting, with many Democrats decrying the “uncivil” nature of the protest. Fruhwirth just laughs.
“It’s disgusting that Democrats are so concerned about people being civil. It would be absolutely hilarious if it weren’t so disgusting. Democrats don’t know how minor and insignificant they really are in this state, but they just sort of plod along and don’t change anything.”
It seems kind of pointless to rage against the Democratic Party in Utah given how ineffectual they are against the Republican majority. Fruhwirth says he doesn’t feel like he’s tilting at windmills.
“The only useful Democrat is a former Democrat,” he says with contempt.
His disdain isn’t only targeted at Democrats. He also has a heaping helping of contempt for Republicans as well.
“Republicans are also rotten to the core. They’re disgusting and tyrannical - almost like a cult in this state.”
Being a progressive in Utah seems like a sisyphean endeavour. Much like the mythical man forever doomed to push a stone up a hill yet never getting to the top, Fruhwirth’s quest seems like one destined to fail. After all, Utah is solidly Republican and the term “progressive” is a pejorative here. He doesn’t see what he’s doing as tilting at windmills.
“I don’t want to predict the future. I don’t think the current political system is resiliant enough to go on forever. It will eventually crumble and decay. This is the perfect place to be fighting this battle. There are lots of people here who believe in local control. That’s what we’re fighting for.”
I saw Zero Dark Thirty over the weekend.
How Katherine Bigelow did not nab an Oscar nomination for “Best Director” is beyond me.
Yes, the torture scenes are rough to watch - and there’s lots of controversy about whether waterboarding was actually used to get information that led to Bin Laden. Get past that controversy and what you have is a wholly remarkable film.
It’s difficult to make a docudrama about something that has already happened, but this film creates such an air of uncertainty that completely pulls you into the hunt for Bin Laden. It’s so effective I was almost crawling out of my skin during the Navy Seal raid on the compound - despite knowing none of the soldiers were hurt during the operation.
Jessica Chastain’s potrayal of CIA analyst Maya is a bit reminiscent of Carrie Matheson in Homeland. They’re both obsessive and driven trying to find the world’s “number one terrorist.”
As a spy thriller, it’s one of the more engrossing films of the last few years, even surpassing the excellent big screen adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
“I do not know what the heart of a rascal may be, but I know what is in the heart of an honest man; it is horrible.” ~ Joseph de Maistre