Bullfrog Films, which makes DVDs available to both the general and educational markets, inadvertently touches on a sadly timely topic as to the DVD release of the 2019 documentary "Cooked: Survival By Zip Code." The income-gap analysis as to the 1995 Chicago heatwave and the 2012 Superstorm Sandy holds just as true as to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A blogland detour before discussing "Cooked" begins with a long-standing comprehension that having enough money to offset the increasing ills of the world give "haves" an unfair edge over "have nots." Having a moderate income that makes an automatic back-up power generator, central air-conditioning, and monthly deliveries of bottled water feasible greatly offsets the impact of deteriorating national conditions. Owning a freezer and a pantry full of food, as well as roughly 150 rolls of toilet paper, in anticipation of the next corornavirus-related lockdown provides further peace of mind. Knowing that a large percentage of Americans cannot afford half of these luxuries is disheartening.
Filmmaker/narrator Judith Helfand framing her study of the heatwave around Sandy evoke thoughts of another recent example of how "haves" fare much better than "have nots." A combination of recent flooding rain that is behind a waterfall of storm water backup in my basement, a related threat of a reoccurrence of that incident, and the callous disregard of the local DPW as to all that is behind spending several thousand dollars to get a back-water valve installed. The insult added to that injury is that the retail value of that work is twice as much as the "insider" price for my project.
All within earshot have heard sincere lamenting as to the folks who cannot afford the valve having to endure flooding every time that storm drains cannot keep pace with a rainstorm.
The following trailer for "Cooked" conveys much of the above, provides a good sense of the non-sensationalist vibe of the film, and gives good reason to believe that this independent film does not provide a Hollywood ending.
The overall message, which COVID-19 validates, of "Cooked" is that Mother Nature keeps throwing one climate-change fueled disaster after another at us. The rest of the story is that the ability of the "haves" to acquire the necessary resources to escape or alleviate the impact of those event can allow them to live while the "have nots" literally die in large numbers. The footage of a fleet of refrigerated trucks storing dead bodies in 1995 Chicago evokes thoughts of similar measures in response to COVID-19.
The '90s-era horror stories include residents of low-income housing cooking-to-death as a result of keeping the windows in their apartments closed in order to avoid someone breaking in. The pictures of some of these small run-down events are worth far more than 1,000 words.
References to wealthy Chicago residents escaping to their vacation homes evokes thoughts of modern-day New Yorkers temporarily relocating to their New England second homes in response to COVID-19. The secondary story is that these callous one-percenters and those that approach that level have no concern about endangering the even one-percenter "haves" in those destination communities.
The "Zip Code" reference in the "Cooked" title shows the same indifference by city officials as my not-so-friendly civil servant blithely explaining as to my flooded basement that the heavy rain that is the culprit being akin to pouring too much water into a glass. The clear communication that the city is leaving residents all along the income scale vulnerable to future floods is behind investing in a private floodgate that is designed to keep my house dry while homes literally across the tracks a few miles away add an a tangible aspect to figuratively always living underwater.