Yes, GONE WITH THE WIND Should be Shelved

I think GWTW is perhaps the greatest example of cinematic art in American film. Scripting, costuming, cinematography, scoring, grandness, emotional impact. I do not think you’ll find a purely American film that is better in the eighty-on years since its release. I understand the sad irony of having Hattie McDaniel’s wonderful performance shaded by any restricting of this movie. But I will add these bits of information about her award.

Loew’s Grand Theater on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia was selected by the studio as the site for the Friday, December 15, 1939 premiere of Gone with the Wind. Studio head David O. Selznick asked that McDaniel be permitted to attend, but MGM advised him not to, because of Georgia’s segregation laws. Clark Gable threatened to boycott the Atlanta premiere unless McDaniel were allowed to attend, but McDaniel convinced him to attend anyway.

McDaniel received a plaque-style Oscar, approximately 5.5 inches (14 cm) by 6 inches (15 cm), the type awarded to all Best Supporting Actors and Actresses at that time.[33] She and her escort were required to sit at a segregated table for two at the far wall of the room; her white agent, William Meiklejohn, sat at the same table. The hotel had a strict no-blacks policy, but allowed McDaniel in as a favor.[34][35] The discrimination continued after the award ceremony as well as her white costars went to a “no-blacks” club, where McDaniel was also denied entry.

I believe that in terms of racist impact, GWTW is—and always has been—more dangerous than D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation.” Griffith’s film so powerfully exhibits the hatred, destruction, and vileness of racism that it delivers to any intelligent audience the exact reverse of the message Griffith intended. GWTW, however, does just the opposite. It paints this romanticized picture of a lovely south and a mostly benign image of slavery that makes it easy for people to accept the “Slavery wasn’t all bad, slaves were happy and well cared for…” illusion. Though it vividly depicts the destruction of slavery and the old south, it does so with a nostalgic sadness. It does little, if anything at all, to address the reality of slavery, or the Jim Crow era that followed. I don’t think the film is going to disappear, in the same way as Disney’s “Song of the South” rightfully did. I believe it may have a prologue and perhaps even an epilogue attached and still be available for purchase. It will undoubtedly be seen on University campuses and in film schools. But the sad reality is that as individuals, and societies, grow and mature, some things that were beloved along the way must be examined under a bright light recognized as the negative reality they hid, instead of the romanticized fantasies they presented.

Does that word mean what you think it means?

Facebook post 06122020

There is a word, a pretty important word, that I think needs clarification. Even Donald Trump uses it, as a slam against the left, because it’s an accusation that the left regularly uses against the right. The word is bigotry, and both sides are correct in accusing the other side. But it’s deceptive. You see, when you look up bigotry, the simple definition of it as provided by Merriam-Webster is “obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices.”

So when you’re accusing somebody of being a bigot, you need to delve a little deeper and specify what kind of bigotry you’re talking about. What are the opinions and prejudices that you are accusing them of? Let’s do that.

The bigotry of the right is devotion to authoritarianism, racism, sexism, hatred of homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, and in short in a kind of sexual they don’t personally approve of. The bigotry of the right is support of white supremacy, and intolerance of anyone who does not believe religiously as they do.

The bigotry of the left, conversely, is rejection of all of the above. Or to put it another way, the bigotry of the right is based upon hatred and intolerance because of who you are, while that of the left is based on how the right behaves, and its refusal to acknowledge the basic universal and constitutional principle that all men, and women, are created equal.

The bigotry of the left insists on separation of church and state, and this is in line with the founding fathers. The bigotry on the right, meanwhile, insists on combining church and state, and is adamant that that their personal religion be the church of choice.

The bigotry of the left calls for the love of all people, while the bigotry of the right calls for the love only of those of whom they approve.

The bigots on the left believe that every citizen working a full-time job is entitled to a living wage, one that allows them to plan for retirement, affordable health care, and affordable higher education. The bigots on the right believe the exact opposite, as proven not by their words and protestations, but by their actions.

You see how this works, then. The question we’re dealing with, is not bigotry per se, but the principles and beliefs upon which each side’s bigotry is founded.

I hope I have provided some clarity. As for myself, I happily admit to being bigoted. And I will take the bigotry of the left over that of the right every second of every minute of every day.

An Open Letter to Joe Collins, Republican

Well, it happened again. l sat down with my first cup of coffee, opened my email, and there was a campaign slug from a Republican. This one is Joe Collins, and he’s running against Maxine Waters in California’s 43rd district in November. His salutation was “Friend”
My response to Joe is this open letter.

Joe,

Your campaign letter to me opened with “Friend,”

I’m not your friend, Joe. I never will be, and I do not want Maxine Waters gone. The Republican party has not been the friend of Americans since Eisenhower, the last great Republican. Today’s GOP is a sludge of greed and corruption. Don’t talk to me about tax breaks. Republican tax breaks go to the 1% and the wealthiest corporations. The $1200 given to each American in the recent stimulus bill was an insult, while the ultra-wealthy were favored, even to the point of allowing rich corporations to steal help intended for small businesses. Your Republican party today is a disgrace. It is the farthest thing from concerned about “average Americans.” It has become a sludge of corruption, racism, and the destruction of the middle class. Ike would be ashamed of what the Republican party has become, just as have the many prominent Republicans who have renounced the party of Trump and McConnell It is a party that has waged class warfare against the middle class begun by Nixon, supercharged by Reagan, and now reached the level of traitorous obscenity when working Americans have to have two incomes, two or three jobs, to survive, and then barely; a party that daily endeavors to twist and nullify the intent of the founding fathers for this to be an America where all men—and women, are equal; a country where  LGBTQ people, those who dare to not be evangelistic cultists, and the entirety of the American working class that is denied decent wages while being charged exorbitantly for both housing and health care—are considered as nothing more than servants to corporations.

 

Your party is not the party of Lincoln. It never was. It is the party that opposed Lincoln. Check your history to find out how the two parties morphed in the decades after the Civil war. Today’s GOP was the Democratic party of Lincoln’s time, only worse. No, don’t call me friend. The Republican party has become an abomination.

 

You will never have my support, only my disgust. I was long an Independent, with progressive leanings and a tether rooted in cautions conservatism. The GOP has changed that. Your foundations in a conservative philosophy that can only be described as Medieval, your fealty to wealth above the common American, your hatred of everything—and anyone—not rooted in evangelistic ignorance, your disdain for the rights of women, and anyone who isn’t “straight,” your inability, or refusal, to face the fact that civilization either grows, changes, moves forward, and evolves, or perishes in a pool of their own ignorance and obstinance, is astounding.

 

No, Joe, I’m not your friend, and you are not the party of Lincoln. You the opposite. You are not the party of Eisenhower. You do not deserve to invoke either of those names. The GOP today is the party of regression, destruction, corruption and hate. You are the party of a particularly onerous fascism. You are the party of Trump, and you are the party of Hannibal Lector. Your leadership is rooted more in 1930’s Germany than in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

 

Do not refer to me as “friend.” You don’t deserve either my friendship or my respect. We need a hundred more Maxine Waters in the House and the Senate, and a hundred fewer decayed Republicans.

 

And Trumpites Still Don’t Get it.

I’ll use this post to share a ‘breaking’ news story out of Washington.

The Trump administration’s ‘monstrous idea’: Direct payments in exchange for cuts to Social Security benefits

Of course, this is unconscionable. Ruinous. Corrupt to the tenth power. The Trump Administration—with the full complicity of the Republikkkan party— has sky-rocketed the national debt by giving trillions to big corporations, billionaires, and millionaires at the expense of ordinary working Americans. They are not only robbing the working class blind, they have been accelerating the process. Their whole philosophy is based on using working Americans as virtual slave labor. And now this?
 
What is truly incredible, is that he still has the support of the people he will damage most and perhaps destroy. They truly are so ignorant they do not understand that the Democratic party is the one fighting for their Social Security, Medicare, their very future.
 
And still, even while being vilified by these people, the Democratic party works tirelessly to help them, to maintain the very lifelines the people they support keep trying to destroy with equal furor.
 
Underneath those MAGA hats resides some of the most astounding levels of hate and stupidity you could ever hope to find. This has to be the most astounding example of biting the hand that is trying to help you I have ever witnessed. The Republikkkans and their chosen Fuhrer are trying to initiate a plan that might as well be poisonous snake in the mail boxes of all Americans receiving Social Security, and the intended victims are hoping they get theirs soon. 
It’s time to face the fact that the madman in the White House is only the tip of the iceberg of insanity.

How Moderates are Killing America

. . .and the world

First, I spent most of my life as a moderate. That said, this country can no longer afford moderates, any more than it can conservatives. The problem with moderates—and again, I was one—is that they vacillate. They are incapable of forceful, decisive action, because they are always too ready to “see the other guy’s side.” We find ourselves in a world dying first from those who hate, covet, and destroy, and second from the strength afforded them by moderates who just want to see every side without making anybody uncomfortable. Moderation is fine if we’re talking about ice cream. I like chocolate, you like strawberry, no problem. Your teams are the Braves and the Rams, mine are the Cardinals and the Chiefs, we’re cool. But when we get to things like discriminating against people, denying their basic human and civil rights because “your” religion says it’s okay, we have a problem. Moderation is unacceptable. If “your” philosophy is based on “your” supremacy because of the color of your skin, moderation is out of the question. When 1%, or 3% of the country skates along on obscene wealth created for them by 97% of the country doing the real work while being denied a living wage in return, Moderation becomes obscene. The problem with ‘moderates’ is that they want to keep everybody happy and avoid conflict, and in the process tacitly approve and accept the worst abuses of the society, including the destruction of the very air we breathe, water we drink, land that supports us, and animal life we drive to extinction, through their unwillingness to address the issues in any meaningful way. They embolden the worst humans among us, their abuses and destructiveness, by simply keeping their mouth closed. “Unity” is a myth, unless the stakeholders—as in all of the people—are served, protected, and respected. “Unity” is the cry of the abusers, far too often and too consistently heralded by moderates, who mistakenly see “peace” and “unity” as the same thing. We now find ourselves in a near apocalyptic state environmentally, socially, and economically, largely because of decades of moderates siding with the destroyers and greedy by preaching “unity,” when what they really mean is “let’s just not have any trouble, ok?” Moderates will not serve or save the environment. Moderates will not stop the rise of white supremacy neo-Nazism. Moderates will not ensure the rights of all Americans in the face of “religious” bigotry and racism. Moderates will achieve none of these things because they do not have the strength. They don’t have the stomach for the fights we absolutely must now win. They are unable to face the reality of the fight that must be made, and so they preach peace, let’s not have any trouble here. And to them, that is unity. Their unity is acquiescence to the likes of Trump, McConnell, the 1%, the KKK and neo-Nazis, the insanity of the evangelical church, the greedy polluters who count their money while the world strangles. Moderates are the Neville Chamberlains of today. They see themselves as deal makers, the crafters of reasonable compromise. Check your history. “Reasonable compromise” has always been a sliding step into retreat. We can’t afford them. I’ll vote for Joe Biden, simply because absolutely anybody would be better than Trump. Biden at least doesn’t want to be King. But Joe’s “moderateness” is in reality more angled toward the right wing. He is not a centrist. He ideologically incapable of taking sufficient steps to save us from any of the nation-destroying forces we’re facing, and in terms of an environmental apocalypse, he is a disaster.

Poor Rush Limbaugh — Not

I see that now Limbaugh claims the coronavirus is a worldwide hoax, and that the “common cold” has been weaponized as a weapon against Donald Trump.

When I think of Limbaugh, I am reminded that in the days of outhouses, they always smelled like feces. The deep stink assailed you even before you opened the door. Rush Limbaugh is exactly like those old outhouses, and for the same reason.

Limbaugh has spent his entire professional life doing nothing but spew garbage for the sole purpose of lining his own pockets. He found a solid audience in a tiny percentage of Americans who are as morally and intellectually as miniscule as himself, and fed them a steady string of bile ranging from that which had little truth, to that which had none at all. He has insulted, maligned, and belittled countless of people—from military veterans to public servants to the elderly and the poor—with no goal other than that already mentioned.

The definition of fraud is one who commits “wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.” That definition could be Rush Limbaugh’s epitaph.

We seem to always try to find at least one or two nice things to say about someone who has died or been struck by a terrible disease like cancer. I actually tried to do that in Rush Limbaugh’s case. I came up empty.  Rush Limbaugh was, among other things, one of the world’s most profound hypocrites. I refuse to be one.

Suck it up, Rush. You only have a bad chest cold. The whole lung cancer thing is just a hoax to attack people that don’t like Trump.

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good. This ill wind, sadly, happens to millions of people a million times nicer and better than Rush Limbaugh.

Three Thoughts about Impeachment

This one will be short, but definitely not sweet.
 There are three things that are obvious to anyone with eyes, ears, and a brain.
1. Of course Trump is guilty. He’s as guilty as were Bonnie and Clyde. All of the evidence is clear on that. Donald Trump is the most monstrous criminal who ever stepped foot in the White House.
2. The Republican Senate knows he’s guilty as well as you and i do. They. Do. Not. Care.
Trump is their leader, their Hitler.
3.The GOP is interested in only one thing: completing and solidifying their coup and destroying democracy. The GOP as a body is the greatest traitor our Republic has ever seen.

Time for Bernie and Liz to come together

I’m going to keep this one short and very much to the point.

It’s time for a dual ticket.
It is time, I believe, for two Democratic candidates to come together and campaign as a president/Vice-President combination. Those candidates are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Liz and Bernie would need to reach an agreement with Bernie at the top of the ticket, I think, with Elizabeth primed to succeed him. I base this strictly on Bernie’s age.
Yeah, I know campaigning as a pre-set ticket ‘just isn’t done,’ but it’s time to change that. A fully-formed ticket would remove the Bernie vs Liz dilemma going into into primaries.  I think that if they came together like this, a Sanders/Warren duo would set up a powerful vision of continuity for America. It would could unite the supporters of each, and the entire progressive movement. I don’t think Trump and his corrupt Republican party could stand against it.

Could it backfire?  Possible. But here’s the thing. We have reached the point, in terms of a crumbling environment and insane level of wealth distribution  that the only way we can save both the planet and our society is with aggressive, unified action. Any move toward centrism is doomed to be too little, to slow and too late.

 

Reflecting on that holiday meal

My plea for this Thanksgiving. Please don’t have turkey, or ham, or pot roast, or any other meat. Please have a vegan substitute. Yes, I know that “No matter how good it just isn’t quite the same.”

You can save a turkey from dying and suffering along the way. Or a pig, or a cow. Oh, it won’t be saved this time, but others will be save as more people do what I’m asking you to do and the demand for the suffering of those animals diminishes.

I know, too, that a turkey, or cow, or pig, isn’t as cute and cuddly as your dog or cat, and that for those ‘pet’ animals you would do anything to keep them from suffering.

But you see, that turkey, or pig, or cow, has the same ability to fear, to feel pain, to love its offspring, as a dog or a cat. They bleed and scream and feel the terror just as dogs and cats do.

And here’s the thing. If you say you love animals, but you also say you just have to have your turkey and chicken and cow and ham, then you have to face that fact that when you say you love animals, you are lying. You are lying to me, you are lying to whoever reads this and whoever you talk to. Most of all, you’re lying to yourself, so that you will be able to shrug off the guilt of the pain and suffering and terror that YOU cause.

Please. Don’t be a liar.

Take a moment. Close your eyes. Now imagine as vividly as you can, these animals being caged and beaten and then forced down a narrow inescapable chute, pressed together with those in front of and behind them. Imagine the screaming they do and hear, the terror they feel and sense in the others. Smell the overpowering stench of the blood they are approaching. Terrified, Knowing what’s coming, helpless to escape.

Now imagine that’s your dog or cat. If you wouldn’t let that nightmare of terror and suffering death happen to them, then why do you think it’s all right to sponsor it happening to other? Hmm?

I spent my life living that hypocrisy because I was brought up in a fashion that simply didn’t let me think about it. I had this marvelous fantasy that made it okay. In this fantasy, you see, each animal was loved and treated well until the time of death, which came as a complete surprise and with such suddenness that they didn’t suffer. That made it okay to eat all of those hamburgers and roasts and chickens and turkeys. But it’s not at all like that. And in today’s world, you know that. You just have to face it.

What I wouldn’t give to have come to the awareness I finally found decades earlier. How much clearer would be my conscience and how much cleaner would my heart feel, if i had leaned the reality, and the lesson, forty, or fifty, or sixty or seventy years ago.

You have the opportunity, the marvelous chance, to face your reality much sooner than I did mine. But like the other side of the coin, this means you also have to face up to your own guilt, your own role in this awful, immoral, insane suffering meted out so that you can have your meat. You are responsible. You can’t deny it, you can’t avoid it. You cause these animals to suffer untold terror and agony on the way to an ugly, vicious death.

You cannot say you love animals, and respect animals, and still be a part of this. It’s not possible. No excuse makes it permissible. You had the courage to read all of this. Now it’s time for you to make a decision.

Please. Don’t be a liar.

And please, please, please, pass it on. Share. Help someone else find the truth.