This is a fascinating documentary about the world and San Diego, Calif. It takes the news story of a plumber who drove a tank on the highway and was shot by police and opens it up into a much larger exploration of post-industrial malaise in America.
The documentary shows how meth spread to San Diego via imperial wars such as Vietnam. There's also some interesting commentary by a cop there about how meth is a lower middle class drug because it appeals to the idea of self-reliance. Thus, meth emerges as a drug both imperial and Emersonian.
I found it especially interesting how we meet the tank driver, Shawn Nelson's, friends and neighbors and get to know them before we realize that they're meth users/ addicts. Especially poignant is the repeated testimony that there were lots of guys who wanted him to show them how to become plumbers too. There's a real sense of being stuck and locked in at the bottom here.
The essays are also excellent. They put the film into context. It would be a great film to use in a class discussing Mike Davis' City of Quartz or any of the books on the use of American urban space for control and surveillance.