Saturday, January 13, 2018

'The Post:' A Once and Future America

Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham in 'The Post'
To count the number of films that have thrilled me more than The Post, I wouldn’t need more than one hand.
This intimate epic spotlighting the exposure of the Pentagon Papers features Tom Hanks shedding his gentleness to play likeable tough guy Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post. He watches in admiration as publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) transforms herself from an uncertain heiress to a courageous American journalist whose decision to publish helped end the U.S. government’s criminal waste of thousands of lives in the Vietnam War.
The moving drama — witty, urgent, humane — is deftly directed by Steven Spielberg, and who but John Williams could deliver such a suspenseful and heroic score.
The film, which bookends Alan J. Pakula’s 1976 film All the President’s Men quite deliberately, has a strong and well-handled feminist vibe too, as all these all-knowing old white guys try to bully the one tentative woman on whom the fate of the nation now depends.
Bart and I had a frisson when we unexpectedly saw our friend Ben Livingston suddenly appear on screen in a key dramatic scene.
The audience was mostly people of a certain age, probably longing for a time when the American press could save this nation from itself. A time long gone.
But if that isn’t the once and future America up there on screen, it should be.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Alternative to American Materialism

Americans seem to assume that the alternative to materialism is poverty. I find that ironic because it’s clear to me that the necessary result of materialism is emotional and mental impoverishment.
So the alternative to materialism isn’t poverty. The alternative to materialism is an indifference to wealth that may well provide a relative immunity to greed.

Life in the Stupidverse

Monday, December 11, 2017

Thus Is History Whored Out

I see the noted American historian Brian Kilmeade has written a book on Thomas Jefferson.
On the July 8, 2009, Fox & Friends during a discussion of a Swedish study showing that married people are less likely to get Alzheimer’s, this Fox News sage said that Americans don’t have “pure genes” like Swedes because “…we keep marrying other species and other ethnics.”
Specifically, Kilmeade said, “Swedes have pure genes, because they marry other Swedes, because that’s the rule. Finland — Finns marry other Finns, so they have a pure society. In America, we marry everybody. So we’ll marry Italians and Irish.”
However, I doubt that Kilmeade included such insights in his Islamophobic propaganda “history” — not only because he didn’t write it, but because he probably can’t even read it.