Columnist David P. Goldman (a.k.a. Spengler) had an article in Asia Times this month (”To be kind is to be cruel, to be cruel is to be kind,” Apr. 14), citing a recent migrant incident in Europe, first reported by UK Daily Mail:
“My permanent fight to preserve the peace, prevent the war and decrease the sufferings of everyone regardless of religion were an exemplary effort deserving respect rather than persecution.” –Radovan Karadzic to Balkan Insight, ahead of his March 24, 2016 Guilty verdict
“The Measure of a Man,” a film whose French title translates as “market law,’ is a condemnation of an economic system that treats its workers as disposable objects regardless of how diligently they have performed or how long they have been employed. Thierry, the protagonist played by Vincent Lindon in an award winning tour de force, is an everyman who has lost his job and been put through several retraining programs that were exercises in futility, never leading to an actual job. We see his frustration in dealing with the bureaucracy that sends people jumping through meaningless hoops only to be turned down time and again. We see him interviewed on Skype by a callow employer who whittles him down to the humiliating admission that he would welcome working for less money at a position lower than expected - only to be told that he has less than a 1% chance of getting the job - though it’s not impossible.
In the most moving part of the this film, we see him at home with a severely disabled son who is treated with dignity and acceptance by him and his wife. In one scene, the parents put on music and begin to dance together, eventually including the son and having Thierry step aside and beam as his son dances with his mother. These are scenes showing all three characters accepting their fate and moving on without self-pity as best they can. Thierry undergoes all sorts of duress : a version of group therapy in which his trial interview is critiqued by his peers; a lecture by an employment counselor who urges him to sell his house and buy life insurance; a patronizing speech by his son’s school director who now doubts that the boy can achieve his dream of going to college and a disappointment by a potential buyer of his mobile home who agreed to a price on the phone but tries to bargain him down after he sees it. His life is a series of reality bites which lead to his taking a job as a security officer at a large supermarket.
Forced to confront both shoplifters and workers who have been caught on camera in various petty thefts and offenses, Thierry realizes that he must stand up against the dehumanizing system referred to in the French title. Given the particularly extenuating circumstances of his life - his outstanding loan, his expenses for his disabled son’s care and education and his need to support his family, his heroic gesture struck this reviewer as an idealistic pipe dream, the luxury of people unburdened by the financial vise that has Thierry chained to accepting whatever job he can find. In a movie that has the hero unemployed for almost two previous years, grand gestures seem too expensive a commodity. More realistic and tragic are the everyday compromises people are forced to make when principles become luxuries that filmmakers can entertain while their subjects struggle to survive and make the best of the little that’s available to them.
In its war for America, the left never rests, sometimes falters but rarely allows itself to fail. It works tirelessly to “fundamentally transform the nation” and smashes anyone and anything that gets in its way.
Two weeks ago, President Obama took time out of his busy schedule of “fundamentally transforming the nation” to do the wave with the Reds at a baseball game in Cuba. This week, socialist Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primary resoundingly in Wisconsin, the birthplace of progressivism. Not a coincidence.
The crowning indignity to Kitty Genovese’s memory is the half-page obituary and celebrity photograph afforded to her killer, Winston Moseley.( NYT 4/516) A close runner-up is the leniency shown to him by our justice system which did not execute this multiple rapist/murderer, but instead allowed him the privilege of a college education while in prison. To read the details of this man’s heinous and barbaric deeds and then chew on that last fact is perhaps an approximation of the angry frustration many American voters feel about how our government orders its priorities.
Do Bill and Hillary Clinton sense a breakdown in whatever deal they may have struck with President Obama to protect her presidential ambitions? Is whatever negotiation they may have been conducting over her email server problem and any inside information she may have on him now imploding? Or have the Clintons “won” the negotiation with Mr. Obama, freeing them to hit him publicly to get her elected?
If you need a memory refresher or a super Moment of Zen, try watching this video, “(Super) Men of Steel.” It incorporates most of the Supermen discussed here into a Smashup of epic proportions. It’s edited by Robert Anglim and stars Edd Hall (“The Tonight Show”) as the voice of Jor-el. Plus, it’s funny…
It’s understandable to put a laser-like focus on the horrific bombings in Brussels that resulted in more than 30 deaths and hundreds of injuries to innocents, including Americans, at the hands of Islamic State terrorists.
Jeez, if Frank Underwood, the evil protagonist of the Netflix award-winning series, “House of Cards,” were on today’s Illinois presidential primary ballot, some of us would have a tough time deciding between him and the rest of the field. (Spoiler warnings!)
The radical left will never tolerate a disruption to its revolution to “fundamentally transform the nation.” When leftists detect pushback that threatens its grand project, they attack. And now, following their successfully orchestrated assaults on the Tea Party movement, Mitt Romney’s 2012 candidacy and conservative principles more generally, they are putting the band back together for another national tour.
When feminists fought to de-segregate all-male schools and allow women entry to the privileged world of the Ivy League, the argument was that girls were just as bright and ambitious as boys and deserved the opportunity to compete fairly in the most elite arenas. This was an argument based on women’s strength. Now we have colleges and universities acceding to feminist demands that women need special protection. Even though they have freedom to engage in sex, to visit boys’ rooms, to spend the night - they must be protected against the trauma (and alleged stigma) of facing the person they are accusing of forced sex. So the American right of the accused to challenge his accuser is subsumed under the rubric of shielding “victims of rape.” It will be interesting to see whether this rule applies in accusations of same-sex rape as well.
In Roger Cohen’s article on “Anti-Semitism From the Left” (NY 3/8/16), he issues the following imprimatur: “The oppression of Palestinians should trouble every Jewish conscience.” How sad that he didn’t issue these more relevant thoughts: The deliberate murder of innocent Jewish civilians, including pregnant women and children, should plague the conscience of every Palestinian instead of being the source of perverted celebrations and rewards. Muslim imams commanding their faithful to kill Jews everywhere with anything within their reach - knives, can openers or cars - should be condemned world-wide as brutal murderers, no different from Charles Manson who instigated a massacre without soiling his own hands. The collateral damage of killing American tourists can not be tolerated by our own government whose passport is meant to be protective of its citizens. American aid to Palestinians will be withheld until these policies of random stabbings and killings are forbidden by the Muslim clergy, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
No one becomes fully delusional overnight. It usually begins with a small, manageable delusion that then mushrooms into bigger ones, resulting in a chain-reaction escalation of self-deception. In the worst cases, it ends in institutionalization.
As Lady Gaga’s voice soared with emotion while performing “Til It Happens to You,” her song from “The Hunting Ground” (co-written with Diane Warren), masses of young women along with some men strode out on-stage with their forearms extended to reveal words of victimhood imprinted on them. Most disturbing was the word “survivor” recalling the term commonly associated with victims of the holocaust. Possibly lost on under-educated people below the age of 60 was the symbolism of that forearm, the site of numbered tattoos forcefully stamped on prisoners of Auschwitz and other concentration camps by Nazi exterminators. Tears could be seen in the eyes of the sensitive audience and defiance in Gaga and her gang as they represented the latest p.c. special interest group - Victims of Campus Rape. But there is zero similarity between that experience and the horrific plight of holocaust survivors subjected to starvation, torture, sadistic experiments and the most brutal modes of murder.
A disturbing trend in fostering American-Muslim “otherness” can be seen in Simon & Schuster’s decision to create a new imprint called Salaam Reads. Targeted at age groups from early readers to young adults, it will present Muslim characters, stressing their own customs and ways, presumably to highlight their integration into our culture, not to stress Islamic theology or doctrine. If that last disclaimer is to be believed, we have to wonder why there is a necessity for a separate imprint with a guaranteed minimum of nine books a year - does Simon & Schuster have one for Catholic , Jewish or Buddhist Americans? What happened to the idea of America as the place that welcomed immigrants from all over the world so that they would have the freedom to believe and achieve what they wished, no longer bound by the strictures of birth or class structure. Are we now reverting to the notion that a Muslim child growing up in America must see her exact counterpart represented in story-books before she can feel comfortable in her own skin? According to Zareen Jaffery, the hyphenated Pakistani-American who heads the new imprint and remembers her own childhood: “I didn’t see myself reflected in books back then.” (NYT 2/25/16). Lest we forget, we are now living in the age of social media and selfies.
There are certain people so deeply entrenched in the national consciousness that their immortality is sort of assumed. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was one of those figures. He was a larger-than-life man of such towering intellect and commanding influence that it never really registered that he might, someday, pass from the scene.
Perhaps Donald Trump’s irreverence reached over to the dog eat dog world of Westminster. Even former Best in Show, Uno, was thrown out of Madison Square Garden this year. The Champion Beagle was “undocumented” according to MSG security.
Never has an “art film” been so mismatched with its Manhattan venues as “The Witch” at the two popular multiplexes where it can be seen. This is a very small movie, dark both literally and metaphorically, difficult to hear and even more difficult to comprehend both literally and metaphorically. Most of the scenes are shot in obscure and candle-lit interiors; most of the dialogue is either muffled, whispered or foreign-sounding enough for American audiences to have benefited greatly had there been sub-titles. We are in the 17th century with a Puritan family that has been banished from the community plantation for the father’s sin of being prideful and apparently holier than thou. The father is determined to create his own farm at the edge of the woods and since we have already been told that this is a New England folk tale, we know what that portends.
With five candidates grouped within a 10-point bracket well behind New Hampshire winner Donald Trump, it might be tempting to say we have a newly widened field with potential for a crowded race toward — and even beyond — Super Tuesday, March 1.
Name a black American politician, academician or celebrity who has publicly condemned the atrocities of Boko Haram, Al Shabab or Al Qaeda Affiliates. When did you see a protest march by Black Lives Matter in solidarity with their murdered Nigerian sisters and brothers? Has there been any black voice from any black group concerning the 219 schoolgirls who are still missing from the original 276 black girls kidnapped in Nigeria in 2014? Has Oprah organized a campaign to raise awareness of this ongoing crime among all school-children here and in So. Africa where she has created her own school? Have there been any demonstrations on American campuses concerning the targeting by Boko Haram of black Nigerian students - killing boys and kidnapping, raping and impregnating girls? Which academic groups have organized to pressure our government or the UN to take action to stop the slaughter of thousands of Nigerian civilians, their villages burned by the vicious Muslim group whose name translates as “Western Education Forbidden.” Point to a lead op-ed in the NYTimes written by Cornel West, Alice Walker, Al Sharpton or Spike Lee in the last year that has drawn world attention to the horrific slaughter led by Boko Haram, Al Shabab, Al Qaeda Affiliates or Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa.