Playhouse 90’s A TOWN TURNED TO DUST aka Echoes of the current political landscape!

“We didn’t know he was guilty.

We strung him up, to satisfy the mood.”

 

“There’s the hunger for the niche.

I wanted to be somebody.

So I decided who the victim should be.

I pointed to an old man.

I led the mob.

I wanted to be somebody.”

— Playhouse 90 A TOWN HAS TURNED TO DUST

 

Those quotes from 1958, written by one of our great writers to highlight a mindset of ignorance and prejudice and lynchings, are oddly and shamefully relevant. Being that here 60 years later the current occupant of the white house stole into the office, on such rhetoric of hate and stupidity and intolerance.

Invaded the most powerful office in the world, swept in on the unreasoning bellows of the mob.

I love Amazon Prime for making available these forgotten and overlooked pieces of cultural and cinematic history.

 

Today I watched from the early days of television, PLAYHOUSE 90s A TOWN THAT TURNED TO DUST.

Directed masterfully by John Frankenheimer, written by Rod Serling, starring a stellar cast including Rod Steiger, William Shatner, Fay Spain,  Eugene Iglesias, Mario Alcade and James Gregory.

From 1958, when Jim Crow and Lynchings still infested large swaths of America, this live production is unfortunately again relevant in 2019, will always be relevant as long as there are masses who want to blame their lives on others rather than taking responsibility for their lives. And ready, these masses, to be led by the loudest voice of hate, rather than the more thoughtful voices of reason.

Watch it now courtesy of Amazon Prime (search for it under the title AN EVENING IN THE ZONE). This is a film that deserves to be owned on DVD/Blu-Ray. Deserves to always be readily available, and not at the mercy of ephemeral streaming  contracts and whims.

I would like to think if Americans were raised on films like 1936’s FURY by Fritz Lang and 1943’s THE OX BOW INCIDENT by William Wellman and this one by John Ftrankenheimer, if these films were required viewing, we would stop repeating the same mistakes and committing the same attrocities and empowering the same hate mongers. To the point where the occupancy of the White House would be different.

There is nothing sadder than history and mistakes not learned from.

Church Shootings, South Carolina, President Obama, and Podcasts


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There is a line I quote a lot, but it’s because like many quotes, it’s a truth in it that endures, and is applicable to many. And it is definitely applicable to me.

I’ll quote it here again…

“You writers live too much out of the world.” –Graham Greene’s THE THIRD MAN.

Here’s the thing about the world, there is always some new atrocity the 24 hour news cycle is waiting to feed you. Someone’s misfortune that, with crocodile solemnity, they are eager to spread before you like some banquet, some forbidden feast, for you to put your snout in and snuffle.

I know people who make a home in-front the TV when the latest atrocity breaks, and they ‘tsk’, and ‘cluck’, and they make the expected exclamations of “horrible” this, and “what’s this world coming to” but you get the feeling it is more rote than real.

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That ‘real’ left town many atrocities ago, and they have yet to notice that what remains is something that watches for reasons less altruistic than information, and more hungry than concern.

I can’t do the 24 hour news cycle. I gave up on networked TV a long time ago and haven’t looked back, or particularly missed it. Too much of CNN or Insert News Station here, and I have to get away, I have to move, I can’t watch people suffer.

I’m old school that way.

I believe in heroes to rescue maidens, and Knights to slay dragons. And I’m fool enough to believe we can all be heroes… all of us. In small ways, and personal ways, and local ways.

But the 24 hour news cycle inundates you with a world’s wrongs, many wrongs too horrific and large and endemic for you to change.

So there becomes a war within you between the desire to change what you can, and the 24 hour news cycle that indoctrinates you, numbs you to a world beyond your time, or means, or scope to change… a news cycle that tells you “relinquish hope, relinquish the idea of days without horror, relinquish the lie of action, be a spectator, be a consumer. Live in the world we give you, the way we give it you.”

And reduce all your rebellions to a tsk here, and a shake of the head there. That’s what the 24 hour news cycle says to me if I watch it too long.

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I have to pick my battles. I have to pick my fights. I have to narrow my atrocities. And some days I have to have no atrocities at all. It’s the only way I can live without rage all the time.

I have to have the courage to change the things I can, the strength to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Not being a part of the 24 hour news cycle, using the Internet to consume news in my time in my way, means sometimes, if I’m embroiled with my life, and the people in it and around it, the real news, then I may not consume another man’s definition of the news… for days on end.

I find I’m a better man for not being suckled every moment on the teat, and rage, and hate, and horror of Rome the metaphorical. I find I’m a better, calmer man, and people find me a calming, even soothing presence, and it’s because the nightly news is not on the back of my eyeballs when I look at them, I look at them without the media’s biases or fears, I do not fall asleep to Rome’s tirade, and I do not wake to her gnashing.

And that has made all the difference.

I think too many, especially the young, who not yet having learned the value of their own life much less anyone else’s, internalize Rome’s madness, drink deep and long of it, and adopt the American past time of mass murder; as if it was no more than a fashion you could put on. Killing for hates handed down to them like ill fitting suits, and reasons not understood by them, killing with no real sense.

No real sense.

Not understanding really, that killing is easy, but the hole it leaves is large, and affects so many. That every life… even the most paltry, took a million million miracles to breathe air into, and you can never know how even the most unworthy life, might, if no more than via tangential fate, give us a painter or poet or astronaut or hero. And with one bullet you can unwind innumerable tomorrows, kill innumerable tomorrows, and we are all the poorer for all those doors closed. All those lives changed. All that unneeded pain, piled upon all our souls.

We are all… by these atrocities, broken and put back together, broken and put back together, broken and put back together. But each time there is less of us, and less of us, and less of us.

Until, we are so removed from every step we took toward the light, we find ourselves mad, hopeless animals, penned in a coliseum, screaming for the fall of blood. Our souls are fragile things, that can bloom or wither, depending upon what they are fed.

So resist the 24 hour news cycle. Resist assumptions. And seek out things that will feed the better angels of your nature.

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You might find the link below, a thing for feeding your soul. I did.

I must first state I am not a President Obama apologist. As an Independent I have taken him to task for what I feel is the dismantling of Liberties, and his paying back his corporate backers by selling generations of Americans into debt, to bail out a stock market comprised of companies that should have been allowed to burn.

That said, even with those we disagree… we must find that common ground where we can, so if we can not agree with their choices, we can at least perhaps understand the making of those choices.

If we can relate to each other as more than ‘them and us’, see politics as less bloody warfare, and more people all honestly looking to make their home, their neighborhood, and their nation better… if we can see ourselves as tied by our commonalities first, then our differences become strengths rather than sticking points, ripping our nation and our world apart.

So I ask you Republican, You Democrat, You Independent, You Man, You Woman… to listen to the following pod-cast.

And take away from it, the parts that will make you better.

I was feeling such insufferable rage in the wake of the Church Shooting and what I saw in the media’s handling of it… However, I listened to the below pod-cast, and the easy grace a President of the United States brought to a moment devoid of all grace… and I could breathe again, easy deep breaths. And I could see beyond the pumping of my own rage.

A long term fix? No.

But only death is long term. In life we must take the fleeting moments of grace when we can find them. And use that grace to empower us to end atrocities one person at a time.

You might find in the below pod-cast something hopeful.

WTF_-_EPISODE_613_PRESIDENT_BARACK_OBAMA.mp3

15 May 2014 American Flag at Half Staff

So I’m walking around downtown on my brunch break and I’m noticing all the American flags are flying at half mast.

It not being a holiday or a day of mourning I find this curious. Checking with coworkers and random gawkers I find they likewise have no idea about this incident.

Doing a bit of research courtesy of everyone’s favorite non-google search engine I turn up that today is Peace Officers Memorial Day.

President Barack Obama seemingly yesterday signed into law a proclamation establishing basically a new holiday and a police week.

Now I appreciate what peace officers do as well as the next guy, however crafting a holiday out of whole cloth, with no discussion, no public input seems… wrong. There is something wrong in its overnight inundation onto the public consciousness. Using an obscure JFK era law to fashion this doctrine from on high.

It goes against the idea of representative government, to have the governed so outside the process of government. A one day turnaround, and taadaa… new holiday.

We already have a memorial day honoring the fallen of wars foreign and domestic. This new memorial while seemingly an innocuous thing, cannot be separated from the ever more paramilitary presence that law enforcement is taking on in the communities they were once tasked with serving.

An adversarial relationship between law enforcement of all stripes and the people, that has grown only more so since the Patriot Act, and President Obama’s numerous sacrifices of liberties and freedoms in his two terms.

We are not on the verge of a police state… we are well into the first tentative days of one, and this whole cloth creation of police holidays while hopefully innocuous, is tainted by the times and is hard not to see… as a dangerous sign, a steeper slide into a nation of unquestionable authority backed by flag waving propaganda.

Or it could just be a flag at half-mast. :). I leave you to judge.

BREAKING NEWS : Join EFF TODAY in defending your rights… that remain!

Dear Concerned Citizen,

Well big business is definitely getting their money’s worth out of the Obama presidency. And they are trying to squeeze out as much capitulation from Obama and the congress as they can, before his term is ended.

Namely by fast tracking a global trade agreement that not only consolidates more power in the hands of business, but also eradicates oversight and the concept of repeal. From EFF:


“Barack Obama used his State of the Union address last night to call on
Congress for a “fast track” for trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP). The pressure’s on Congress, and that means *it’s never
been more urgent* that we stop the secrecy surrounding this undemocratic
agreement.

What’s so dangerous about “fast track”? If Congress passes the bill
(HR3830/S.1900), it severely limits its own ability to review or amend
agreements. That means Hollywood won’t have to worry about our
elected representatives standing in the way of TPP and its extreme
copyright provisions. That’s why we need to stop the Fast Track
bill–to defeat TPP.

If you’re a US voter, visit StopFastTrack.com now to call and message
your elected representatives. “

You can also use EFF’s action tool to contact your representatives about
opposing this bill, and find out more HERE!

The NSA, Programs of Terror and Crime and the rights of the Governed

I find it interesting how the attention is focused on the young man who to my mind, did his duty and put the interest of the American people’s right to know, above the interest of a few shadowy spooks right to play god.

The Government is the servant of the people, and when it forgets that, it forfeits its right… to blithely be obeyed.

It forfeits its right to unquestioningly… govern.

There are such things as illegal orders and illegal acts, and any soldier’s or representative’s ultimate duty is not to his government but his country, and the moral imperative to know and act when those two things diverge.

The defense of the NSA in their criminal enterprise boils down to “our actions have stopped potential crimes”.

To that I would answer… you can not preserve freedom by eradicating freedoms, and you can not preserve the law by breaking the law.

Full stop.

That road lies in dark places that we have been before.

The NSA attempts to justify it like all overreaching totalitarian regimes justify anything, that their ends justify their means. And that has never been remotely true, and is not in this case. The NSA’s claim to have stopped acts of terror, misses the truth, which is… they have traded their greater acts of terrorism for others’ smaller, potential acts of terrorism.

It’s like Nazi’s Germany’s answer to any petty and supposed crime of the individual was the magnitude greater crime of the state, such as concentration camps. That we are walking down that road with the American government today is obvious and clear, from Darpa designing ever more sophisticated machines to kill men (in the event enough of our military wakes up to the idiocy of murder and assassination as government policy, well of course we need unquestioning machines there to do it instead) to the barbaric state of our prisons… we use the threat of terror to support an increasingly terrorist American Government.

It is a hypocrisy that must be recognized… clearly recognized… and opposed… vigorously opposed.

The person’s name we should be broadcasting is not the young man, that the culpable press (in the payroll of the very interests getting rich treating the common citizen as criminal before crime) calls demeaningly “whistle-blower”, it’s the ones who run the NSA. The shadowy directors and heads of the NSA and CIA and FBI and all those acronyms that hide their big crimes under the lie of persecuting small ones.

They are like the lynchmob hanging and castrating boys for whistling at women, they use the lie of petty crimes, as a smokescreen to commit great ones.

We’ve cut so many social and humanitarian programs for supposed lack of funds, yet so much of your tax dollars go into a black hole, where abhorrent individuals do abhorrent things under the lie of doing it in the name of “National Security” or “for the people” when the truth is, they do it for the reasons it has historically been done, they are diseased animals in positions of power and no one has told them no.

No one has put them down.

“No.”

And “Get down.”

It’s a start.

Maybe instead of cutting programs to feed and clothe and inspire and employ our citizens, maybe we start closing down the acronyms. This country ran before them, I reckon we’ll run after them.

And maybe run a damn sight better.

FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS Episode #3a: The EFF

Well the first two episodes of FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS was well received, so I thought it was worthwhile to kick out episode #… THREE!!!!

This new segment basically will select four or five followers of this blog (thanks to all of you who are now following this blog) and/or blogs I follow and just promote particularly interesting things I find on their pages:

Okay onto the promoting 🙂 :

I’m a paid up card carrying supporter of the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and I have to say I consider them an essential organization for ANY OF US who have an online presence or make use of this wonder we call the internet and the digital age.

Quite frankly our elected representatives are out of their depth when it comes to protecting the rights of their constituents in the digital age. They surrender our rights to the lobbyist/snake oil salesman with the slickest line, and the fattest wallet.

The EFF discusses just this in their coverage of the recent passage of the CISPA in the House of Representatives.

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“U.S. House of Representatives Shamefully Passes CISPA; Internet Freedom Advocates Prepare for a Battle in the Senate

“Today, Internet freedom advocates everywhere turned their eyes to the U.S. House of Representatives as that legislative body considered the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.

For the second year in a row, the House voted to approve CISPA, a bill that would allow companies to bypass all existing privacy law to spy on communications and pass sensitive user data to the government. EFF condemns the vote in the House and vows to continue the fight in the Senate.

“CISPA is a poorly drafted bill that would provide a gaping exception to bedrock privacy law,” EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl said. “While we all agree that our nation needs to address pressing Internet security issues, this bill sacrifices online privacy while failing to take common-sense steps to improve security.”

The legislation passed 288-127, despite a veto threat from Pres. Barack Obama, who expressed serious concerns about the danger CISPA poses to civil liberties.”
—By Dave Maass and Mark M. Jaycox

Read the whole story, and much more here. And when you’ve read enough to get you good and fighting mad. Join the EFF and support those who are fighting for you!

For reasons of ease of reading we’re going to split this latest installment of FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS into bite-size chunks, Enjoy this one and another one is on its way!

TRAILER Review of the Day: ABRAHAM LINCOLN:VAMPIRE HUNTER

ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER- What sounds, and probably should remain a gag/fan short film, is actually going to be hitting our theaters in June of 2012, helmed by some major talent. Most notably Director Timur Bekmambetov of WANTED fame. I enjoyed WANTED, I thought it was way better than the joyless and annoying comic book it was based on, and find Bekmambetov to be a talented and visually exciting director, and those gifts are in full effect in this trailer.

Our 16th President may not exactly, in the great beyond, be enthused about this usage and monster-mashup mythification (yes I did just make that up)of his image, but it seems to be, if not exactly respectful, at least in the spirit of fun tall tales, and if anyone can understand that it’s a good old Kentuckian like our former President.

And the trailer visually looks like a lot of fun. If there’s a story to hold it together it may be a fun, brainless summer flick. Or it could be in excessively bad taste… time will tell.

View the trailer here.


I also watched three other trailers:

SPIDERMAN- The 2nd trailer makes me no more interested. The trailer commits the cardinal sin of just being boring, plus I don’t like anyone in the film. Particularly the new Peter Parker, just no personality. This is looking like a definite wait for DVD for me. It just looks boring as all heck.

7500- Instead of SNAKES ON A PLANE, you have ghosts on a plane. looks like a talented cast, interesting premise, but it’s directed by the director of the GRUDGE, and I wasn’t a fan of any of those films. And the reason is shown in this trailer, it’s all jump cuts and screeching sounds, rather than making a scary movie, the director just makes a discordant one. Just going by the trailer it looks like a hack job, a rental at best.

BOURNE LEGACY- The trailer is okay. Doesn’t really blow me away or give any impression that it will be up to the first trilogy, specifically the last film. That said the film sports great actors, so that alone is swaying me to check this one out on the big screen.

Okay, that’s all for now.