The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Culture Corner—Operation Flagrant Foul & Dirty Work

Sep 12, 2022

Film: UNTOLD: Operation Flagrant Foul, 2022, on Netflix

In its latest release, the sports documentary series UNTOLD brings to the fore the 2007 NBA betting scandal named by its FBI moniker “Operation Flagrant Foul.” The film has recent and revealing interviews with Tim Donaghy, the only referee to be charged, and with his two partners from the gambling world. Also included is an interview with the FBI agent who was on their tail. The interviews clearly expose how attitudes of referees can and do influence the outcome of an NBA game, how referees follow unwritten rules, and how some referees were also allegedly illegally betting on games. Was there a cover-up? Is it still going on today? A film worth watching.

Book: Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America by Eyal Press, 2021

The pandemic exposed the vulnerable status of essential workers in perilous times, drawing attention to the health and safety risks they faced. This book goes further and examines the psychological, emotional, and physical hardships these workers face, even in “everyday” “ordinary” times. Through in-depth interviews and visits to the “front line,” the author highlights the burdens placed on people in the prison system (both guards and prisoners), workers in the slaughterhouses and in the meat processing plants, drone operators, oil rig workers and others. The book shows how people are forced into unbearable choices and how they fight for a decent life.