Sam Shepard RIP

I’ve never seen any Sam Shepard plays. The closest I’ve come is listening to that Joni Mitchell song about him. What are some good ones that I can watch movie versions of? I watched “Fences” on a plane ride recently and really liked it (once I was sure the main character’s best friend wasn’t going to start lecturing everyone about debt forgiveness), and that made me think I should make more of an effort to see contemporary or at least semi-contemporary plays. Since I live in a small city, there isn’t so much opportunity to see it on the stage (we have theater companies, and I go, but a lot of it is greatest hits).








Still Not Ginger!

The BBC has announced the 13th Doctor:

From The Guardian:

Chris Chibnall, Doctor Who’s new head writer and executive producer, said: “After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor.

“I always knew I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice. Her audition for the Doctor simply blew us all away.

“Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The 13th Doctor is on her way.”

Whittaker said: “I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet. It’s more than an honour to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”

At this moment, if you’re attuned to these things, you can feel the millions of gamergaters, men’s rights activists, and these gorilla mindset schmos crying out in despair. Or tweeting about it…

At the risk of crossing the meme streams:



Lessons from History: The US During WW I

While the French celebrate the final hours of Bastille Day, including historic displays of US troops in Paris on this day in 1917, I want to take a moment and focus on what was happening on the home front in the US 100 years ago. Reflecting on this history is important given the concern expressed in comments and on the front page here and other places about what is happening in the US.

It is not often remarked, if it is even remembered, that during WW I President Wilson essentially leveraged all forms of national power to achieve his objectives – in terms of both the war effort in Europe and domestically at home. As a result he converted the Federal government into something of an authoritarian regime. There were still elections. The Constitution and Bill of Rights were technically still in existence and in force, but in reality the US under President Wilson during World War I was about as far from its ideals as it has ever been. President Wilson essentially federalized Jim Crow, which was in line with both his racism and his obscure religious beliefs in Anglo-Israelism.

The power of the Presidency and the Federal government was leveraged through what we now call a psychological operation (PSYOPS) campaign to ensure broad and deep support for President Wilson’s agenda. To this end he tapped George Creel who created the propaganda campaign that would mobilize Americans behind President Wilson. Creel’s work is a textbook example of how to plan and implement a PSYOPS campaign. And it was incredibly successful. Through Creel’s work, President Wilson was able to convince Americans to not just go with meatless or wheatless days at home, but to turn in their neighbors if they suspected them of not getting on board with these initiatives to ensure that the troops in Europe had what they needed for their sustainment. Creel also set the conditions for forced charitable contributions to the war effort, including enforcement that would bring public pressure (shaming, denigration, job termination, extrajudicial violence) against those that didn’t give or give enough.

And even though Creel tried to tone down the official anti-German components of his propaganda, he largely failed. German nationals in the US and German-Americans were forced to register with the government and carry ID cards. In a grim foreshadowing of what Germans would do throughout Europe during WW II, as well as what the US would do to Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals in the US, German nationals and German Americans lost their jobs, had their property taken away, were relocated into internment camps, and were subjected to extrajudicial violence and punishment. Simply for being German or Americans of German descent.

For instance:

As the war dredged on, nativism took root. Newspapers printed one-sided war coverage. President Wilson railed against “hyphenated Americans,” a slight against German-Americans. Even the growing support for Prohibition was seen as a fight against the Germans.

Then, when the U.S. entered the war in 1917, all pretenses disappeared. German culture was attacked. Anti-German hysteria swept the nation – especially here.

German language classes, taught in Cincinnati schools since 1840, were dropped. The Enquirer offered the headline: “Bang! Hun Study Is Floored.”

The public library moved their 10,000 German books to the subbasement. “This library has been used to further a reptilian and insidious propaganda by enemies of the United States,” said board trustee James Albert Green. “German literature published during the last 40 years is tainted with the ideas and ideals which American boys now are giving their lives to combat.”

For those wondering what tyranny and authoritarianism in the US looks like, the US during World War I is the real example. The US and its ideals survived President Wilson and his efforts during World War I. It still has the resilience to survive the trials and tribulations it is facing now. All that is required is that Americans, regardless of background, remember the ideals that America is based on and act accordingly. Small acts are as important as large, grand sweeping gestures.

For an excellent four hour documentary on the US and World War I, including an in depth examination of what was occurring domestically, I highly recommend PBS’s The American Experience: The Great WarIt will be four well spent hours.



As Independence Day (USA) 2017 Comes To An End: Let Freedom Ring

Earlier Doug! asked about patriotic songs. My favorite has always been My Country Tis of Thee. Many patriotic songs, regardless of nation-state, are often rewritten during troubled times. For instance, Naomi Shemer’s Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold) released just three weeks before the Six Day War was rewritten after the war by Meir Ariel. Ariel was one of the paratroopers that fought in the battle to take East Jerusalem from the Jordanians in 1967. His rewrite, Yerushalayim Shel Barzel (Jerusalem of Iron) was intended to emphasize the horrors of the war and became a protest song as the Israeli occupation of the West Bank continued year after year.

During the years prior to the Great Rebellion, America abolitionists rewrote the lyrics to My Country Tis of Thee. This abolitionist variant, done in a minor key, becomes a haunting spiritual begging the divine providence cited by the Founders in the Declaration, Constitution, and their other writings to finally bring liberty to all. This variant is below followed by The United States Army Field Band’s performance of the traditional version.

Let freedom ring!

 

 



Actions Have Consequences: Lysistrata Edition

I’ll just leave this here for your schadenfreude and viewing pleasure. Albo is quitting the Virginia House of Delegates.



4 April 1967: Dr. King’s Speech on Vietnam

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on 4 April 1968 in Memphis Tennessee. He gave his final speech that day in support of striking sanitation workers. It was also one year to the day from his speech about the Vietnam War. MLK’s Beyond Vietnam speech was delivered 50 years ago today. Given all the tumult going on in general, and the events of the day in specific, it is important to stop, step back, and reflect on Dr. King’s life’s work and the words he spoke on two different April 4ths a year apart.



Something Strange in the Greater DC Area: There Appears to be a Cluster of Missing African American and Latina Teen Girls

There is concern that there is a cluster or, perhaps, a spike in missing persons cases in the DC area where the missing person is either an African American or Latina teen girl.

The figure is startling — more than a dozen black and Latina teens have been reported missing in D.C. since March 1.

The apparent jump in the number of missing young people in the District has raised concern in neighborhoods and on social media.

Actually, what’s happening is D.C. police are now acknowledging a continuing problem.

https://twitter.com/DCPoliceDept/status/839886925632835584?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwtop.com%2Fdc%2F2017%2F03%2Fdc-police-address-concerns-over-missing-teens%2F

As indicated by the social media response, DC authorities are taking the issue seriously.

Chanel Dickerson, who recently became commander of the D.C. police’s Youth and Family Services Division, said she was shocked by the number of missing children in the District. She said many of the cases involved runaways and she has pledged to publicize each case and provide equal service to all.

The 211 people who went missing in January did not reflect an increase in cases, Dickerson said, just better reporting by the families. While that may be true, it is far from reassuring. Few believe that the children are being snatched off the street in mass, but they do think that the children are endangered.

Sharece Crawford, a member of an Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Southeast Washington, said she believed that more black girls were getting involved with gangs and also being forced into prostitution.

“What we need is a citywide alert about the dangers out here and how parents can protect their children,” Crawford said. “Residents are very worried. They are wondering if the city is taking this seriously. They say things like, ‘If white girls were disappearing uptown, there would be a state of emergency.’ ”

The good news is that some of the missing teens are being found.

Amongst the teens missing, it’s been reported that 13-year-old Taylor Innis has been found in “good health.” Missing teen Antwan Jordan has been found safe.

Here’s the picture arrays with the pertinent information from one of the Essence authors/reporters.

As much as we are paying attention to a lot of important, fast moving things, it is equally important to pay attention to other equally important issues that impact people in different, but still important ways. It is important to remember that there are people at risk not because of anything the Federal, state, or local government may or may not be doing – though they may be at risk for things that should have long been done, but weren’t. Rather, people can be at risk just because of the reality of day to day life. It is important to keep in mind that as we focus on the big issues that we don’t lose sight of equally important things closer to home.