Recycle follows ex-Mujahideen bodyguard who collects cardboard to support his family

Tonight, PBS Independent Lens debuts a documentary, Recycle, which has a simple name that defies the complexity of its subject: it tells the story of a Jordanian man who’s an ex-Mujahideen fighter and bodyguard who now supports his 10-person family by collecting cardboard in Zarqa, where al-Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was born.

PBS says that filmmaker Mahmoud al Massad “unravels the knotted threads of poverty, humiliation and strict religious doctrine that have made the city a continuing source for jihadist recruits” while the documentary itself “follows Ammar throughout his day, charting the life of this deeply religious yet moderate Islamic man as he tries to survive and support his eight children and two wives in one of Zarqa’s poorest neighborhoods. In the meantime, his attempts to build a normal life in the impoverished town are thwarted at every turn. He cannot afford his rent; a scheme to sell used vehicles in Iraq fails when he is almost killed by extremists and American soldiers, and the book he is writing–a moderate interpretation of jihad–goes unfinished.”

The subtitled film debuts tonight on PBS stations, and there are three clips from it on YouTube: one, two, and three.

Recycle [PBS]

The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.


Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.