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person per year were pouring into the atmosphere, at least 170,000 lakes and millions of acres of forests in the United States and Canada were acidified, 90 percent of the garbage produced went unrecycled, less then 5 percent of the worst toxic-waste sites in the nation had been treated, topsoil was being washed away at the rate of 3 billion tons a year, water was depleted or polluted of the rate of 10 billion gallons a year, and the alteration of minds and habits necessary for the salvation and health of the world had only barely begun.” Even Denis Hayes, normally optimistic in the atmosphere of Earth Day, admitted that “by any number of criteria that you can apply to the sustainability of the planet, we are in vastly worse shape than we were in 1970, despite 20 years of effort.” Against the reformism of the mainstream environmental movement, Sales posits and writes sympathetically of a more radical strain of environmentalism that evolved in America during the same three decades. This was the strain that produced such groups as Earth First!, the U.S. Greens and Bioregionalists, the militant Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Planet Drum. They held in common a “biocentric” view of the world as opposed to the “anthropocentric” view of the mainstream environmentalists and they felt no loyalty to the resource-intensive capitalist economic system to which the reformers were implicitly committed. “Such a sensibility,” writes Sale, “was deeply ecological, in that it understood the true interdependence of species and their habitats \(and the necessarily limited role of cal, too, in that it demanded a profound change in the values and beliefs of industrial society from the bottom up. Altogether, in the words of philosopher George Sessions, it shows us ‘that the basic assumptions upon which the modern urban-industrial edifice of Western culture rests are erroneous and highly dangerous. An ecologically harmonious paradigm shift is going to require a total reorientation of the thrust of Western culture.’ ” At the end of his book, in assessing the longterm prospects for the American environmental movement \(and therefore, in my view, the movement abandon its role as “a reformist citizens’ lobby, pressured on the fringes by more radical groups but willing to work within the system and reap the victories and rewards therein.” He suggests rather that the activist movement “deepen and darken its analyses and criticisms, following the lead of the more serious of the radical environmentalists, and try to work for structural changes in the system itself.” environmental heritage of Cristobol Colon and the marauders who came after him finally be vanquished. And meanwhile, thanks to Kirk Sale for another fine book. BY STEVEN G. KELLMAN ANGIE Directed by Martha Coolidge THE SNAPPER Directed by Stephen Frears TELEMACHUS slipped out of Ithaca to look for Odysseus, and thousands of subsequent sons have repeated the theme. The search for the father is a universal motif, except that mothers and daughters need not apply. In Angie, directed by Martha Coolidge from Avra Wing’s novel Angie, I Says, a daughter goes off by Greyhound bus to find the mother who abandoned her when she was three. When Angie woman who bore her is insane and in Texas. Most ofAngie is set in Bensonhurst, the working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn that is largely populated by Italian Catholics, Hollywood’s favorite ethnics. Mafiosi are as plentiful as sagebrush in American movies, but Angie ‘ s law-abiding Italianslike those in Nancy Savoca’s recent Household Saints shed merely menstrual blood. Household Saints portrays a young Italian-American who rejects the biological role for which her body has equipped her, while Angie embraces motherhood. Though she rejects plumber she has been dating since 11th grade, Angie, in her 30s, determines to bear the child the two conceived. “You’re gonna end up on Oprah,” warns her best friend Tina ject of a study in the limits of fin-du-sicle female independence. Norman Podhoretz began Making It, his triumphal memoir of the making of a New York intellectual, by observing that the longest distance in the world is between Brooklyn and Manhattan, a lesson in social geography likewise learned by John Travolta’ s ambitious Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever. Coolidge is as attentive as a cultural anthropologist to the accents and attitudes that distinguish urban precincts and ethnic groupings, but her true subject is social class. You know that Angie’s stepItalian when you see her use ketchup to extend the spaghetti sauce and English muffins to anchor her pizza. More importantly, you Steven Kellman teaches comparative litera ture at the University of Texas at San Antonio. know that Angie is restless in Brooklyn, which she leaves each day by subway for an office job in Manhattan. “Promise me we’re not gonna turn out like Tina and Jerry,” Angie urges Vinny. “We’re special.” However, in the nasal intonations that link his speech to everyone else in Bensonhurst, Vinny cannot guarantee exceptionality. When Vinny mocks Angie’s cultural aspirations, she travels alone to Manhattan, to explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gazing at a Degas painting, she encounters who seems to belong to a different species than Vinny. Noel’s lilting Gaelic brogue sounds nothing like Brooklynese, and, while . Angie’s friends are partial to Marvin Hamlisch, Noel is fond of Massenet. For a fishmonger’s daughter like Angie, Noel is a classy catch, and the two are soon lovers, even after she reveals that she is pregnant. Like Alan Bates in An Unmarried Woman, Rea’s Noel is a fey, sophisticated European who outshines oafish New York men. By the time she discovers that he is also a cad, Angie is an unwed mother. In a panic over male perfidy and the physical defect in her new baby, Angie flees to Texas. The encounter with her long-lost schizophrenic mother, on a remote rural road en route to San Antonio, propels her back to Bensonhurst. “Everybody’s got somethin’ broken,” she concludes, in a voiceoVer that makes no pretense of elegant diction. “The less broken have to take care of the more broken.” Angie is not a perfect film, but it takes care of its sentimental business with better humor than early women’s weepies like Stella Dallas or Ann Vickers. Coolidge cautions us about the fate of female independence; madness in a distant prairie bedroom awaits the woman who rejects the circumstances of her birth and the responsibilities of giving birth. Like both Odysseus and Telemachus, Angie returns home, reconciled to the flaws of family and friends. Nor is class dismissed; Angie has merely learned to accept her caste. She remains unwed, though not unbroken. But Davis’s pert performance makes of Angie the radiant angel of a fallen world. The Barrytown in which Irish novelist Roddy Doyle \(author of The Commitments and, more recently, Paddy Clark, sets his fiction is a kind of Dublin Bensonhurst, an enclave of workingclass Catholic families. At the outset of The Snapper, the Curley familyDessie, Kay, Mothers Without Fathers THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21 YY