Sunday, August 20, 2017


I’m one of those people who complain that Hollywood doesn’t make enough serious movies.  There are way too many gross-out films like “Hangover 8,” and way too many comic book films like “Spiderman 7.” 

I must confess to a certain amount of hypocrisy.  I read the reviews about “Detroit.”  I knew it was a serious film about a major event in U.S. history.  Good cast, amazingly good director, who happened to be a woman.  And it was playing at our local theater.

Nonetheless, I didn’t go to see it.  I couldn’t bear to watch the execution of three black guys in the Algiers Motel.  I know it happened.  John Hersey wrote a book about it.  I just couldn’t bear to watch it.

Neither, it turns out, could most movie goers.  “Detroit” has been a major disaster at the box office.  At this point it may not even make a profit.

I bought three tickets to the film because I think it is important that Hollywood make serious films about serious issues.  I just don’t want to see them.

To compound my hypocrisy, I did see the latest Spiderman film.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The open carry tradition

There isn’t one.  We have had demonstrations all through American history.  It has been a tradition to have people shouting at each other, competing with picket signs, bullhorns, even occasionally and unfortunately fistfights.  

What we didn’t have is opposing sides openly carrying weaponry, especially not semi-automatics.  Even if those weapons are not fired, they will be used to intimidate, as they were in Charlottesville.  

It is time state legislators come to their senses.  One of these days we are going to see a massacre at what should have been a peaceful assembly to air grievances.  Wait for it.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The benevolent leader

In 1960 Yale Professor Fred Greenstein published an account of research he had conducted on hundreds of New Haven school children.  He discovered that children were taught to respect authority figures, especially the President.  He learned that very young children often confused the President with God.

As children grew older, they realized that the President was definitely not God, but they still held residual feeling that the President was more than a mere mortal.  This carried over into adulthood; when Kennedy was assassinated, many people suffered from insomnia, depression, and a general feeling of unease.

Most parents, even those who didn’t like the current President, taught their kids to respect him.  I remember how shocked I was when our daughter, then about five, came home from kindergarten talking about “Pig Nixon.”  I loathed Nixon, wrote letters to him urging him to resign, and went to anti-Nixon demonstrations, but nonetheless told Rachael, “You don’t call the President a pig.  He is the President of the United States.”

Greenstein’s work was criticized.  Another researcher studied minority kids and found that many of them were afraid of authority figures.  Critics said that New Haven school children were not representative of many American kids in Appalachia or inner cities.  Besides, Greenstein did his study during the Eisenhower administration, and it was not a total stretch to confuse the fatherly Eisenhower with Jehovah himself.

I wonder what kids now think of our Nazi-friendly, woman bashing, immigrant-hating Trump.  If I had a kid coming home from kindergarten today talking about “Pig Trump,” would I be shocked?  Does any kid, even a three-year-old, confuse this President with God?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

General Washington and General Lee

Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, forwarded an email that said of General Washington and General Lee, “...there literally is no difference between the two men.”

Let’s see....  

One was the father of his country; one tried to dismember that country.

One made provisions to free his slaves with pensions upon his death; the other fought to preserve slavery.

One was an amazing general who pulled off such victories as the Trenton Christmas battle; the other sent his troops across an open field against a dug-in position to be slaughtered.

One was the first President, the other was a traitor.  

Yeah, about the same.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Principled resignation

Some countries have a tradition of principled resignation by government officials who can’t stomach their government’s policies.  The U.S., evidently, is not one of them.

On stage with Trump at his “infrastructure press conference” were, if I am not mistaken, two Jews, an Asian-American woman, and a general.  When the President started his defense of anti-Semitic neo-nazis, you don’t stand there with your head down.  You turn around, stomp off the stage, and go back to your office to write up your resignation.  

We’re not talking about a Wal-Mart shelf stocker who absolutely needs the job.  We’re looking at people who can mutter “I’m not listening to any more of this crap” and walk away.  What happened to honor?  To integrity?  To courage?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trump's News Conference

I really didn’t want to write about this.  I actually wanted to post something about how I disagreed with the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue.  

The Trump statement today was so bad that I have to comment.  I saw those people chanting about Jews and blacks, saw David Duke, saw the torches so reminiscent of the Nuremberg rallies in the 30s, that I had to say something about Trump’s statement.  

And here is my take on it.  

I’m not surprised.

Monday, August 14, 2017

How to counter a white supremacist rally

First, you need to realize that those guys like to wear uniforms.  White shirts, helmets, various insignias, confederate flags, sheets with hoods. 

It’s like Halloween.  Take advantage of that.  Have your counter demonstrators get zombie masks, werewolf costumes, vampire teeth, Disney characters, people with Trump masks.  Get bags that say “Trick or Treat.”

When the racist rally starts, infiltrate your people with costumes.  Yell out “Trick or Treat.”  You will have converted the rally into a Halloween parade.  You will have done more than oppose the racists, you will have made them look ridiculous.  Nobody likes to look ridiculous.  

When you fight them, you give them credence.  What you want to do is make them look silly.  You want people to laugh at them.

P.S.:  I always feel like I need to apologize when I don’t post.  Last night I picked up Linda at the Philadelphia airport at 1:20 a.m.; we got home at 3:10.  I was just too tired.  It won’t happen again.