THIS CACAPHONY HAS TO END
I have decided to refrain from any further partisan political remarks because I no longer want to contribute in any way to the self-destructive hellhole we have managed fall into. Since most people are basically apolitical and sensibly engaged with their day to day lives, when I say “we” I mean that 20% or so who regularly follow politics and the even smaller minority that are ideologically passionate about it, because their perspective is based more on emotion than reason. The more intensity increases the more unhinged they become from reality, to the point where they start de-humanizing the opposition, opening the way to a potentially very dark result. This is tragic because the ongoing political cacaphony is clouding so many other, sometimes wonderful aspects of life.
For most of my life I have been optimistic about the future of this country, but that is increasingly fading and I am truly worried about our future. This insanity has to stop or we are doomed, and sadly for fundamentally foolish reasons. For whatever differences we may have, they are minor alongside of those we have with external powers that increasingly threaten us all. The only saving grace is that it involves a minority of the population, but they tend to be people in influential or decision-making positions who think they know what is best for everyone else and are determined to impose it upon them.
We haven’t quite reached the point of no return, but the trajectory is accelerating. Having pondered this phenomenon for decades from the 1960s onward, going forward I will have a lot to say about how we got here, as well as how we can possibly get ourselves out of this mess.
*. *. *.
FOR OLD HOLLYWOOD FANS
My favorite streaming service is among the least expensive and most informative- Curiosity Stream. Even if you favor"entertainment" venues, you have to check a really interesting feature about the original Hollywood movie moguls- Titans: The Rise of Hollywood. If you have some knowledge and expertise in that area you are still going to be surprised by many fascinating nuggets I don't think have been articulated anywhere before.
It tells the story of the birth of the American movie industry, and how, ever so haphazardly, the great studios came to be in the form of a docudrama that succeeds in bringing it all alive. Many people may still be familiar with Louis B. Mayer or Jack Warner, whose careers lasted much longer, but here you also have the others in ways I don’t think anyone has seen before.
This isn’t the usual narrative about “the talent,” but how they came to be in the first place.
I once read a book that referred to William Fox as “film's forgotten man;" well here he is. I only thought of Adolph Zukor as some little old guy at Paramount but now understand who he was as a young man. Who knew that Carl Laemmle (Universal) pretty much got the feature film concept rolling, or the extent to which Mary Pickford (United Artists) was a savvy working executive? How about the other two Warner brothers, or the fact that The Jazz Singer was supposed to be played by George Jessel, who originated the role on Broadway, not Al Jolson?
It also shows how Mayer’s position and power were a lot more precarious than everyone once assumed. The series ends just before the golden age of Hollywood most people are more familiar with, (the death of which really started when Louis B. Mayer was unjustly ousted, in my opinion). You also see how and why they wound up in Hollywood in the first place, then the middle of nowhere when there was nothing much there besides fruit orchards and farms.
Now Curiosity Stream is no big budget production company, yet with far fewer resources they have managed to present a really good product. Consequently there are some limitations, so some settings are more emulated than authentic and many of the actors bear little physical resemblance to the real characters they are playing, and some accents are missing, but nevertheless they provide convincing performances. I think they went a little too far portraying Thomas Edison as a nasty villain, in a way I suppose is designed to augment the mogul’s viewpoint, and the term “movie moguls” came about much later on, but aside from those quibbles it’s a really good undertaking. If you love the old Hollywood and the movies, you must see this program.
* *. *
A BRIEF ASIDE ABOUT 9/11
THE events of 9/11 are still very much with us, and still have a living presence in our consciousness. But think of a 21 year old today. For those of us who were around circa 1961, the equivalent comparable event was the bombing of Pearl Harbor! How different it was, for the attack that brought us into WWII by then was already something out of a more remote world of black & white newsreels.