MATEWAN By John Sayles – A masterpiece made in 1987 that is absolutely relevant in 2020

 

‘You think this man is the enemy? Huh? This is a worker! Any union keeps this man out ain’t a union, it’s a goddam club! They got you fightin’ white against colored, native against foreign, hollow against hollow, when you know there ain’t but two sides in this world – them that work and them that don’t. You work, they don’t. That’s all you got to know about the enemy.’

-MATEWAN [2 syllables, pronounced MATE(as in your spouse)- WAN (as in WAND)]

 

Matewan

Click on the above image to purchase.

 

People use words like masterpiece and great, and sometimes the true weight of what you may be getting across may be lost.

Let me therefore explain MATEWAN to you thusly, I just finished watching the film yesterday. And I’m watching and listening to the, newly cut 2019 Criterion interviews today. (quick aside, i really appreciate that criterion went to the expense of doing new interviews and features for this film, which is something i am critical of them not doing, in other films. These 2019 featurettes are really— stunning, and on top of the greatness of the film, make the blu-ray a must own purchase.)

 

This morning I watched the news of Resident Trump dressing up essentially unidentified strike breakers and thugs, and letting them loose in Portland Oregon, and calling it the law.

 

“If you have vacation benefits, if you have unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation— these things weren’t given to you; they were fought for by people throughout this country. And i’m passionate about the fact that people have actually made an effort to fight for other people’s rights.”

—Karen VuRanch, THEM THAT WORK (2004) Documentary/featurette on the Matewan Massacre

 

Watching MATEWAN, a stunningly beautiful film, referencing a caustic bit of American history,  from exactly 100 years ago, gives me, and I think it will give you, one of the greatest gifts art can can give— perspective. Perspective on the mistakes we have made, and the tyranny we have allowed.

And perspective helps us deal with the present, without ignorance, and if not without fear, without hopelessness. Because we can see others have seen these days of Gethsemane, and endured it, triumphed over it.

You can go many days of your life without gaining that type of perspective, that barest hint of —- grace. Looking at the world, many people go their whole life without finding the type of perspective, that glimpse of grace— that MATEWAN hints at.

For $30 to $40, Criterion’s MATEWAN blu-ray is one of the best purchases you can make. And ultimately, what it has left me with, like the best of true art, is priceless.

 

 

 

” The way she poured herself into her song— it can make a doubting man religious.”

—James Earl Jones on Hazel Dickens’ song in the film

Youtube and Pandemic Video of the Day, France, Revolutionary War and Captain America?

 

There are a couple things and a couple places that historically enrage me.

You will find injustice and stupidity everywhere, but some places seem to have more than their fair share. Some places where the rule of law and government, is put in the hands of the most venal, and these miscarriages of not just justice, but of humanity continue to proliferate and occur.

The MOVE Bombing in Philadelphia comes to mind, the LA riots, sentencing mentally disabled children as adults in Florida and locking them up with Adults.

Ah Florida.

You bring to mind a quote from Henry the Vth.

And when I think of Henry the Vth, it is not the play I read that comes to mind, or the many film adaptations, it is a very specific film and performance. It is Branagh’s HENRY THE V. And there is this scene where he has just seen the bodies of the children that France killed in a sneak attack. He says, he seethes, “I was not angry till I came to France!”

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

Often I have heard news dealing with Florida, and it rises in me that self same rage, and I think… “I was not angry till I heard of Florida!”

And again I am sure there are great parts to Florida, great people in Florida, however it seems rightly or wrongly, they are overshadowed by the… mad.

Though it could be argued that… considering who some people voted for in the last presidential election, that all of America is mad.

***

Perhaps one of the greatest warriors America has ever produced, perhaps he was right.

Perhaps he was right when he switched sides.

I’m talking about Benedict Arnold.

History only remembers him as traitor.

They forget that he was the one everyone looked to, Washington, Jefferson, Banneker all of them. He was the Captain America of his day.  Winning battle after battle, until at some point he saw a dichotomy between a colony seeking its Freedom from England, while ever more earnest about creating its wealth through a system of petty tyrannies, fiefdoms, slavery and impoverishment.

Ah Arnold, they have roughly used you.

Perhaps he was right.

An 1880 Bio of Benedict Arnold, By A Sympathetic Relative

 

All that to say, that video… riled me.

********

Now a bit more on that Henry the Vth quote:

“I was not angry till I came to France!”

That line has always stuck with me. What was said, and how he said it, and the enormity of the villainy to prompt such words.

However I don’t want people to confuse me  being moved by that line, with any problems with France.

I like France, I went through it when I was younger, on a trip from Germany to London than back down through France to Spain.

Map of Central Europe (General Map / Region of the World)

While some American media has this totally undeserved derision toward France, the truth of the matter is… there would not be an America without France. The 100 year war between France and England, actually being just a small part of a 1000 year rivalry between those Super-Powers of that age, and the battle ground of America, what we called the Revolutionary War, was simply, for those Super Powers, their Vietnam.

Britain was fighting too many wars on too many fronts, battles with Spain, and France and on their own shores, and now a treasonous colony to deal with, that was being supported by their enemies. It was too much.

America likes to think we beat Britain, that is not the case. No, more than Vietnam beat America. In both cases battles on too many fronts, at home and abroad, required that the super power relinquish their expansionist wars, to concentrate on maintaining the nation proper.

So yeah, while Henry the Vth rightfully raged against France at the Battle of Agincourt, for myself, and for I think any American who has studied even basic history, and appreciates (for all its horrendous flaws) the dream of America, well you have to thank France for there even being a nation called America. Much as Vietnam has China to thank for them not being annexed by the United States.

So historically a fan of France, though these days they are dealing, like much of Europe and the World, with the rise of a new form of colonialism and fascism, under the guise of big business supplanting the rights of the individual.

 

Woah, man. That post went all over the place.  🙂

Somewhere in all that rambling there is probably a point. Me, I’ll leave it there. With this last refrain…

  • Travel when you can.
  • Defend each other and yourselves when you must.
  • Find and spread joy where you may.

These are my only laws.

Oh, and deliberate cruelty is not forgivable.

In the words of Tennessee Williams and Blance Dubois. Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

Be well all.

And here endeth the rant. 🙂

 

-HT

 

Deal of the Day!

Book of the Day : ALEISTER & ADOLF

Like most of you reading this I have a backlog of material to get to. Being a collector I likely have more of a backlog than most. Books, comic books and graphic novels, music, cds, movies, streaming, old time radio, podcasts, youtube, and the list goes on.

So it is not unusual for Books that I get with all intention of reading, getting parked in a very long queue. For any of you with Netflix or Amazon Watchlists, you’ll understand this.

So often times books only make it to the top of that list when going out the door.

Case in point with ALEISTER & ADOLF. I have started finding new homes for books I have not had a chance to get around to, ALEISTER & ADOLF became one of those books. I was packing it up to ship to its new owner, and while I had flipped thru it never really had gotten a chance to read it. Well about to pack it up to ship off, I wanted to read a bit of it.

I opened the book, and ended up reading the whole thing, standing in one spot…. and I found it, riveting. I found it an interesting tale of the part symbols play in history, and in our concept of reality. That advertising and salesmanship, while seen as a very modern thing, is actually since time immemorial… at the heart of empires, their rise and their fall. The hearts and minds of people, is where wars and peace are won, and oligarchies sustained.

If you are a fan of writers like Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, while not told with the elegaic poetry of these writers, Douglas Rushkoff‘s writing and Michael Avon Oemings‘ art, weaves a succinct and engrossing page turner of strange fiction, based on even stranger facts. 

A worthy addition to the writings, both fact and fiction, on that most pivotal and bloodiest of Wars, what Roosevelt would come to call… The Survival War.

Great read. And I see myself re-adding this to my collection in the future.

Grade: B+.

 

Get your copy here. You may want to hurry as they are almost out of stock.

Today’s STREAMING VOD TV Guide Roku Recommendations: Youtube Edition!

Today’s STREAMING VOD TV Guide RECOMMENDATIONS – Youtube EDITION!

 

YOUTUBE:

 

The Problem with Disney+?!!!

 

 

The above video is from a Youtuber called CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT. This Youtuber’s channel was unknown to me before stumbling over this post. However, I looked at his content and some I agree with some I don’t; but this one on Disney + seemed relatively even-handed and informative.

Take a look and decide for yourself.

My take away on his video, and you guys know I am not a Disney fan, is given the price point, and the slate of shows and movies that will be available on Disney+ when it gets into full swing, it is definitely one to sign up for… eventually.

Providing they can keep this price point for the foreseeable future. I am in no rush to join the 10 million early adopters of Disney, but  I will eventually jump in.

I just am not in a rush. Would be nice for it to have something other than the MANDALORIAN, that I am interested in, currently available. 

But as more original Marvel and Star Wars content starts dropping in 2020, it will be a more and more attractive service, provided the shows are good, and the price point remains low.

I hope Disney, does follow-thru with releasing these shows also on physical media/Blu-Ray, for the disc heads like myself, who maintain streaming is a good option for discovering items, but no replacement for re-watching and owning the actual disc. For watching content your way, rather than the quality of your viewing at the mercy of licensing deals, or the weather, or Disney, or your ISP, or time of day.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a like and  or comments.

 

News you can Use : Intriguing News from Around the Web!

Facebook said earlier last week that it has no issues with allowing lying ads or nazi publishers on its platform

Why anyone continues to use facebook, after repeated abuse of the public’s rights and reason, remains beyond me.

 

Sharp 80% rise in liver cancer deaths in UK

 

50 great tracks for November from Dua Lipa, Destroyer, Selena Gomez and more

 

ACLU sues feds to get information about facial-recognition programs

And not just the municipal/’public’ cameras. Yes your smart phone,  WE, Xbox, Ring and wifi security cams, VR headset, all that stuff you are using for fun or your security, is placing all that data of your face, body, and your surroundings in huge databases, that someone that is not you, gets to sift thru and use. Welcome to MINORITY REPORT. :). 

 

SECURITY Breaches at Network Solutions, Register.com, and Web.com

 

Trump Is in Denial About Getting Booed Again, This Time at a UFC Fight

Also not accepting reality? Fox & Friends.

 

Arrogant Stupidity and prideful ignorance, is the enemy of reason.

 

DNS over HTTPS Will Give You Back Privacy that Big ISPs Fought to Take Away

News you can Use!… And a RanT.

DISNEY QUIETLY DELETES ‘TOY STORY 2’ SCENE AMIDST ‘ME-TOO’ BACKLASH.

https://frompage2screen.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/disney-quietly-deletes-toy-story-2-casting-couch-scene-after-metoo/

 

This is a bit longer than I intended it to be, so feel free to read in pieces. I think there may be some grain of wisdom in the wildness of it. It goes hither and yon, but its heart is in the right place.

 

First I have never liked Disney.

I don’t.

I do not like their stance on copyright. I do not like their stance on creator rights. And I do not like that they famously, or infamously bought a news station, rather than being the subject of the news.

I do not like any company that is above the law. All laws. And masks their absolute earth shaking power, behind this facile facade of familial values.

But you do have to respect Disney.

Respect what they have done, and how they have done it.

But cheer-leading is another matter.

I think people who were championing for Disney to buy Fox, or this company, or that company. the mass of people without a stake in Disney, championing Disney so they can see fictional characters share the same screen, are morons who do not understand larger issues of monopoly, and wage manipulation and price fixing, and law making, that comes with allowing a company to get that big. Real tangible issues that affect the people and the quality of life of the people, not at the very top of that economic pyramid.

I think people who take an ownership view of how much billions more, billion and trillion dollar entities like Disney make (oh we have to get the Avengers movie over a Billion or to 2 Billion) are ignorant slaves, cooing for their masters to build a bigger house, and expand their plantation, when you barely have a pot to piss in.

I like the Marvel and Star Wars movies and think Disney has done well by them  (However I would have been happier if neither Disney purchase was approved, and they remained separate companies, because competition and a free market and quality of life and choice… is more important than getting a specific type of movie), and I want entertainment I consume to be good, but as far as being a cheerleader for how much more billions these movies make for their global overloads. I sincerely could not care less. If the movies lose money they lose money, if they gain money they gain money.

The fact that studios have helped destroy local theaters and distribution, that 40 years ago, that money a  blockbuster made would go into the local economy,. Into the Independent theaters, the distributors, the retail companies. That money a movie made, a nice portion of it, went back into the local economy. Not so any longer. Now a studio owns a stake in everything from the distribution company, to the chain of theaters it is shown at, to the theatrical equipment and media used. The Billions a movie makes, is literally billions moving out of the pockets of the many poor, and into the pockets of the few rich.

Only if you are a stock owner should you feel some tiny type of fiscal ownership or incentive in Disney’s financials, and I guarantee you most of the idiots who are clamoring for a movie to break this record or that record, do not own a single Disney stock. They are penniless slaves taking ownership in their masters house, rather than any ownership in their own.

So that is my background on how I feel regarding Disney.

 

Now onto them cowtowing to ‘Me Too’ mob.

 

This is the reason DVDs and Blurays can not be replaced by streaming, because of this tail wagging the dog syndrome, this knee-jerk reaction companies and politicians and courts are engaged in of cowtowing to the mob, and acting and punishing at the whims of the mob, before thinking.

We can have great intentions, but the 2nd those great intentions transcend due process or replace ‘innocent till proven guilty’ with ‘guilty till proven innocent’; you become a mob rather than a movement.

And businesses and courts and the media, cowtowing to this witchhunt atmosphere become part of that lynchmob mentality.

Let us start with the big picture and some historical perspective and work our way down.

A lynch mob mentality. That’s the type of atmosphere, where people lose their job and livelihoods and lives before their day in court, where books get banned and burned, and in the age of streaming, films get… altered.

So that’s the reason if you have a movie you love, you only truly own it, if it is in a physical format. Any item you own in the ‘cloud’ or even on your hard drive (if it is accessible to updates) is subject to this re-writing of content, this editing of content, to placate the unreasoning, scared, power-hungry mob.

Most people have good intentions.

To protect their communities, to support democracy, to fight against discrimination, to oppose sexual harassment, to protect children, to defend women.

But we have allowed people with bad intentions to weaponize these good intentions, with unthinking rigid slogans that replace and usurp the rule of law, and dispense and enact punishment before due process, popular American slogans such as “Make America Great Again aka Keep America White” or “Better Dead than Red” or “Me Too”, when you become a knee jerk defender of slogans over reason and due process, you move from a defender against crime, to a committer or crimes. A lynch mob and a witch hunt.

And I’ll have no truck with that.

Too many people have been lynched in this country, both literally and most recently social media wise, to let anyone get away with mob justice, or mob punishment, as our new normal.

Someone is accused of a crime, guess what people… IT IS STILL AN EFFING ACCUSATION until proven in court. You should not immediately go from reading a headline to attacking that person, and calling for punishment and calling for them to be fired or banned or stripped of their earned honors.

(One thing on that — If an honor a university or organization has given to a person that has earned it, is removed at the behest of the mob, you do harm to the value of that honor. To the integrity of that organization.

What matters is not who the person you gave an honor to… becomes, or was in the past, but that you gave your word. If the reason the honor was given remains a fixed point in time, a fact, than that honor must likewise remain a fact, a fixed point in time.

We do not get to only immortalize a man’s falling down, his standing up, the reasons for those accolades must likewise be a fixed point. For accolades and honors to be removed with the mutterings of the mob, is to make those honors and the institution that gives them and takes them away… of no more value, than spit in wind. I’m looking at you Yale and Xavier and the Navy… to name a few.)

What we do not do, is 4 years before their date in court, pronounce them guilty, fire them, hound them, and generally destroy their life and livelihood on an accusation. That is the definition of a witchhunt and mob justice.

A man or woman’s bad, does not erase their good, and in this ME TOO slogan age, we seem to want to  make a person the one, and erase the other. And that is not how judgement works, or none of us will see the paradise.

Because if men who have done more good, than any twenty of us walking this planet, can be demonized by the mob in the blink of an eye, with none of that good taken into account, all those accolades edited out, and only the bad judged, then none of us, judged that way, will escape hell.

We must weigh the good a person has done against their bad, and only then can they be judged fairly. And they must be judged by people impartial, without axes to grind, or an agenda to put forward, else it is not judgement, it is crucifixion.

This censoring and editing of content, because ‘we’ no longer agree with an actor who is in it, or a joke that is portrayed, is a very slippery slope. And we have been here before, and it does not work out well for anyone.

A bit of an off-topic rant, but one that was brewing for a bit.

And shows how potentially widespread and damaging to every facet of our lives, cow-towing to the mob can be.

Final take away: slogans are for outside the court, not in place of it, and more trivial take away… if you have content you love, be it a book, a song, a movie, in this new digital/streaming age, while accessing it has become easier, so has altering and censoring it. So if you have something you love, own it in a form that can not easily be changed, a physical/tangible form.

 

Here endeth the Rant. 🙂

 

 

Youtube Channels On Rob Liefeld, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur and the Demise of DC Comics?

I listen to some of these Youtube channels, with hosts expressing all types of varying views and opinions.

People get up in arms about a lot of things, than rush to share their opinion.

Here is the thing, everyone has an opinion, but what you should share is an INFORMED opinion. I’m always amazed by the number of people who don’t take the time to make their opinion, an INFORMED opinion.

” Oh No! Rob Liefeld is saying DC is heading for a collapse!”

And that is news why?

I don’t personally care what the opinion of Rob Liefeld is. Not saying I dislike him, but in a long day of numerous issues, the opinions of Rob Liefeld generally do not make my radar. Or most people for that matter, we live busy lives.

However a podcast put this particular Liefeld stance on my radar.

DC comic company heading for a demise.

Just a cursory glance at the comic market will make that stance seem like an outcome with a hefty potential, to be the likely stance.

As far as most of America is concerned there is  no such thing as comic books. The best selling comic books of the biggest companies in the US, Marvel and DC, have been struggling for years to sell a 100000 copies in a nation of over 300million people.

That is an unprecedented level of failure.

That is a market hanging on by its fingertips, and is staying alive by resorting to desperate 1990s moves of multiple and variant covers, and price gouging their remaining dwindling audience.

Comics are going up exponentially in price because the big two American Comic book companies rather than attempting to grow an audience, is simply concentrating on milking to death their existing dwindling audience of extremists.

And you have to be an extremist of some sort to pay $4 and $5 and up for books of lessening quality and miniscule content.

And recent talk of AT&T’s acquisition of Warner brothers and by extrapolation DC, points to the print division of DC Comics as one not viewed favorably by At&T; one can argue with good reason.

So to speculate and even err on the side of the demise of the periodical print form of comics, DC comics specifically, that is only looking at the situation clearly and making some informed conclusions. Especially in the wake of the biggest book retailers, far larger than DC. suffering calamitous years of their own.

If you had to bet on DC print division, returning to the glory days of selling millions of copies OR going strictly to a digital and collected/trade model (with some print on demand tossed in); you have to look at the latter as the most likely option.

So yeah talk of the demise of DC Comics, or Comics in general, is just acknowledging the same falling dominoes we see in other physical media markets, from newspapers, to book retailers, to CD and DVD providers. The only difference being all of those things, still sell better than Comic Books.

To not see demise in the wind in the desperate price gouging antics of Marvel and DC, is to not be paying attention. Now I being a fan of print would like a return to a thriving sequential market, but it will take following the path of innovative sequential companies like Alterna, who eschew relying on just the flawed Diamond Direct Market model.

I urge you to check out the Alterna channel for great discussions on these very topics.

And what is funny is the same people who will argue for the health of the direct market, will then call for the cancellation of titles like MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR and MS MARVEL. “Oh those minority books, diverse books are low selling. they should be cancelled. Why aren’t they being cancelled? ” Again it is a case of people not taking two seconds, in a digital age, to get informed.

While the titles do not sell gangbusters in periodic form, in the flawed Diamond direct market model, they sell gangbusters to libraries. MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR and MS MARVEL sell great to libraries, and are critical darlings. And are quickly becoming bigger IP money makers than the traditional “Give us only white guy” titles, that surprise, surprise, after a few issues, stop selling, and need to be rebooted to bolster sales.

It has been my experience that most people on social media, are here to spread gossip or an agenda or be outraged about something, the truth be damned. They just want to have something to move their lips about. That becomes the babbling of idiots, rather than any type of cultivated discourse.

So to combat this type of co-opting of the conversation by those who probably really have no love for comics, those of us in a position to have even a minor audience, we owe our legitimate audience better than regurgitating the suspect ramblings of the agenda prone, we owe them better than our uninformed opinions, or theirs, we have to hold all of us to a higher level of discourse.

There can be no civilization without holding ourselves to civil discourse.

The truth is out there. You just have to take the time to shut your mouth long enough… to hear it, and read it, and internalize it. 🙂

Hear Endeth the Lesson!

 

The worst thing that can happen to movies and free news is for Disney to gobble up Fox Studios and yet another news channel..

There is a reason a hundred years ago antitrust laws , and labor laws and child labor laws and unions came to be… because we learned the hard way… unchecked capitalism and greed is indistinguishable from tyranny and murder.

Companies were literally killing people to make a penny more in profit.

Let us not go backwards.

Say no to Disney gobbling up another studio and another network and news division. That would make them even more, the makers of truth..

Too much power for any company or any man.

Comcast is no prize, but in this situation, having them buy the Fox portfolio, it is clearly the lesser of two evils.

 

Here endeth the Lesson.