Not a Blog

Weighing the Choices

November 5, 2016 at 6:10 pm
Profile Pic

Tuesday looms, and many people are supposedly still undecided on who to vote for.

I hear people saying they don’t like either candidate. That there is no difference.

To which I say…

Oh, wait, Seth Meyers said it better than I could:

<lj-embed id=”851″/>

Tags:

A Simple Observation

November 4, 2016 at 1:51 pm
Profile Pic

New Mexico has been a battlefield state in past presidential elections, most recently in 2000 and 2004, but Obama carried it easily both times, and of late it has been trending blue. So much so that until very recently it was considered safe for Clinton this time around, which meant that neither side was paying us much attention.

That’s changed in the last couple of weeks. All of a sudden, it is thought that the Land of Enchantment is in play, and we’re seeing campaign commercials for both sides daily, often hourly. All summer our airwaves were blessedly free of those, but now one can’t escape them. Some of them are positive ads, about the wonderful things the candidates is going to do for us… but the vast majority are negative, attacking the opponent. Sadly, that seems to have become the default setting for politics in this 21st century of ours.

Watching them, however, a very huge and basic difference struck me.

The Trump commercials are all fairly standard political attack ads. You’ve seen a thousand like them. Find some bad pictures of the opponent, in this case Hillary, pictures that make them look ugly or angry or crazed (easily done, there are thousands of uattering pictures of any public figure floating around these days). If they are not bad enough, put them up in black & white, which always seems to make them worse. Juxtapose them with negative imagery, maybe some out of context headlines. Use a faceless narrator’s voice over the pictures telling us that the candidate is corrupt or a liar or “too extreme.” The latest Trump ad manages to add Anthony Weiner, who is called “Pervert Anthony Weiner.” The blatant name-calling — flinging around words like ‘pervert’ and ‘crooked’ — is not something we have often seen before in American politics, unless you go back to the 18th and 19th centuries; that’s Trump’s own original ugly contribution to lowering the tenor of political discourse. The rest, however, is Attack Ad 101.

What’s notable here is that the whole thing is accusation. It’s one side calling the other side names. If any political positions are presented, they are usually distorted. Smith says Jones is corrupt. Jones says Smith is a liar. Smith says Jones voted for something unpopular. Jones says Smith favors something vile. Trump’s ads against Hillary tick every box here. They are made of assertion, innuendo, and name-calling, but there’s no substance to them.

Clinton’s ads are something else. Very different, and — to my mind — much more truthful. The star of all the Clinton ads in Donald J. Trump. There are no deliberately unflattering photographs, however. Nothing in black and white. Just video clips, full color, professional footage from news cameras at his rallies, interviews, television appearances. There’s no name-calling either. Clinton doesn’t need to label Trump as “crooked” or “a liar” or link him with “perverts.” Clinton’s ads just show Trump being Trump.

So what we have here is not Smith claiming that Jones said terrible things. What we have is actual footage of Jones saying and doing those things. No one has to accuse Trump of anything, he has laid it all out there in public for the world to see.

Yes, he mocked a disabled reporter. There he is, doing it.

Yes, he told Billy Bush he liked to kiss women without their consent and grab them by their pussies. There he is, boasting about it. When you’re a star, you can do anything.

No need to accuse Trump of going into the dressing rooms of Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA pagaents when the contestants were changing so he could see them naked. There’s Trump himself, telling Howard Stern about it.

Yes, he said women should be punished for having abortions. There he is, telling Chris Matthews. His own words, his own face.

Yes, he said he wants to ban all Muslims from entering the US. Here, see the clip.

Yes, he’s in favor of Japan and Saudi Arabia and South Korea having nukes, here’s the clip where he says so.

And on and on and on and on. The Gold Star family, the bad hombres, Judge Curiel, the Miss Universe contestant… his own speeches, his own tweets, his own words.

The usual pattern in election is that Smith says Jones said something terrible, and Jones denies it. Not so here. Hillary does not need to use the sort of hoary attack ads that Trump is using. She only needs to present him as he is, and let his own words condemn them.

And they do.

In my lifetime, there has never been a presidential candidate more unfit to lead this nation.

You don’t need to like Hillary. You don’t need to listen to what Hillary says about Trump, or what I say about Trump. You just need to listen to Trump. If you can do that, and still consider voting for him… well…

Pappy Bush lost an election by looking at his watch. Michael Dukakis lost an election by riding around in a tank. Howard Dean lost an election by giving a yeeeehah scream. Trivial things. Insignificant things. Trump, on the other hand, has said the vilest things any presidential candidate has said since George Wallace, and he’s rising in the polls.

He has boasted that he could shoot someone dead on Fifth Avenue and still not lose any votes. I am beginning to think he was right.

Tags:

Voted

November 2, 2016 at 3:41 pm
Profile Pic

Just got back from the courthouse, where I cast my vote.

It was a busy, bustling scene. The poll watchers and election personnel told me that early voting is way up compared to 2012, at least in Santa Fe County. That’s encouraging.

After you cast your ballot, they give you one of those little red, white, and blue I VOTED stickers. We want to do our own part in encouraging everyone to get out and vote, so from now until November 9 anyone who turns up at the Jean Cocteau Cinema with one of those stickers will get a FREE POPCORN. No charge for butter, or the topping of your choice. And we do have the best popcorn in town, so…

I have to admit, this election has me very anxious, especially this past week as the polls began to tighten. Every four years someone is sure to say, “This is the most important election of our lifetime,” but this year I think that is absolutely true.

In other words: vote. Do it for America, do it for the world, do it for your children, do it for the popcorn… but DO IT.

Tags:

Trump is Coming…

November 1, 2016 at 3:10 pm
Profile Pic

… to the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

Opening tonight at the JCC for a one-week LIMITED ENGAGEMENT, we have TRUMPLAND, the latest film from Michael Moore.

<lj-embed id=”846″/>

TRUMPLAND is the latest from the Academy Award winning director of SICKO, BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, FAHRENHEIT 9/11, and many more.

And the Jean Cocteau is the only theatre in all of New Mexico showing TRUMPLAND. We’re a small theatre, so if you want to catch this one, I’d get my tickets now:

http://www.jeancocteaucinema.com/

See you at the movies… and at the polls, I hope.

Once Upon An Election…

October 19, 2016 at 11:59 am
Profile Pic

We’re on the cusp of the third and final (thank god) presidential debate of the 2016 presidential election. All the signs point to this one being even uglier than the last, which itself was the ugliest debate in the history of our nation.

Most of you reading this are younger than me. You may not know what presidential debates used to be like… what they should be like… but I remember.

Take a look below. (But be warned. You may find it boring. Serious discussions of policy are a lot less “exciting” than what we have today).

<lj-embed id=”841″/>

The Lincoln/ Douglas debates were pretty impressive as well, but alas, no video exists. ;(

Tags:

A Salute to Immigrants

September 10, 2016 at 6:09 pm
Profile Pic

The United States is a nation of immigrants.

The vast majority of you reading this are descended from immigrants (aside from those few who are Native American). I know I am. My paternal grandfather came over from Italy as a child. My maternal grandfather was Irish-American, a Brady whose own ancestors hailed from Oldcastle in County Meath. My paternal grandmother was half German and half Welsh. My maternal grandmother had French and English ancestry. I am a mongrel to the bone. In short, American.

Wherever they came from, and whenever they made the crossing, all of my immigrant ancestors faced hardships, poverty, and discrimination when they came here. They came looking for freedom, they came looking for a better life. And they found it, or made it… and in the process they stopped being Irish or Italian or German and became Americans.

The process is still going on today. Men and women dreaming of a better life still look to America, and cross oceans and deserts by whatever means they can to find that better life. They face hardships and discrimination as well. Not everyone welcomes them. Some talk of walls, of keeping people out, of sending them back. My ancestors faced the same sort of talk. So did yours. It’s an old old story, as old as our republic. Millard Fillmore is dead and forgotten, but the Know Nothing Party is alive and well today, under other names. They still know nothing.

But some of us remember where we came from. Some of us remember that it was the immigrants, those tired poor huddled masses, who made America great to begin with.

From September 23 to September 30, the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe will proudly be screening five great films about immigration and the immigrant experience. A mix of old films and new films, featuring a wide range of actors of all races, colors, and ethnicities, by some of cinema’s finest writers and directors. Comedy, drama, terror; immigrants have known it all, and these movies will reflect that. Some are among my own favorite movies. Others I have yet to see.

Here are the trailers for the films we’ll be screening:

MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON
<lj-embed id=”825″/>

THE LOST CITY
<lj-embed id=”826″/>

AVALON
<lj-embed id=”827″/>

DESIERTO
<lj-embed id=”828″/>

SIN NOMBRE
<lj-embed id=”829″/>

Check the Jean Cocteau website for dates and showtimes.

In addition to the films themselves, we plan to feature some appearances by the actors, directors, and some of our local political figures, talking about the movies, their own families, the issues surrounding immigration, and the like. We’ll have more details on that as the dates firm up. But I know I will be kicking things off myself on Friday, September 23.

And as a way of welcoming our newest Americans, during the entire week, admission to all shows will be FREE for anyone who can show us a green card.

(And while I cannot promise a taco truck on every corner, we do hope to have a wide variety of food trucks turning up in front of the JCC at peak times, offering all sorts of tasty treats).

Harder Than Voting

July 27, 2016 at 12:32 pm
Profile Pic

Register to vote.

It’s not that hard.

Compared to some other things.

<lj-embed id=”742″/>

So register now.

And vote in November.

Vote as if your life depended on it.

(Because it does).

More on the Refugees

November 23, 2015 at 11:29 am
Profile Pic

John Oliver lays out the actual facts about the vetting process, and destroys the fearmongers in hilarious fashion.

Oliver nails the heart of the issue here. We should not allow ourselves to be ruled by fear. But there’s no need for me to paraphrase, he says it all better than I could.

Tags:

And Now For Something Completely Different

November 21, 2015 at 4:09 pm
Profile Pic

Okay, this was a hoot and a half.

<lj-embed id=”623″/>

My Position On the Syrian Refugees

November 20, 2015 at 2:27 pm
Profile Pic

[

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Those words, of course, are by Emma Lazarus. Her poem, “The New Colossus,” appears in bronze on the base of the Statue of Liberty. A statue given to the United States by France, our nation’s oldest friend and ally… a bit of history that seems especially important just now, in light of the recent horrors in Paris.

For me, Lady Liberty and the words on her base represent the best of what this nation of immigrants is all about. One has to wonder if all the governors (including our own governor here in New Mexico, I am ashamed to say) and congressmen voting to keep out the Syrian refugees have ever visited the Statue, or read the words on her base. If so, they surely failed to understand them.

Of course, most everyone knows the part about ‘your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,’ but let me draw your attention to some other lines of the poem:
— a mighty woman with a torch… her name Mother of Exiles,
— from her beacon hand, Glows world-wide welcome,
— send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me.

Emma Lazarus had it right. Donald Trump and thirty-one governors have it wrong, wrong, wrong.

The Syrian refugees are as much victims of ISIS as the dead in France.

Let them in. Santa Fe, at least, will welcome them.

Tags: