|A page from the Tyndale Bible.|
Now that I've wandered off onto this tangent, I'm no longer sure of where the heck I was headed. Was it to post a few pics from the garden? Or the chance to write mildly amusing commentary on making my own tomato paste, or the adventures of putting up copious amounts of fresh homemade pesto against the depravations of winter? (I used up the very last of last year's pesto a few days before starting this year's batches.) Or were the seeds a reference to all the movies I've watched lately? Or haven't watched?
|A part of the larger garden at Solar Hill (which I help maintain) where my garden is located. |
At the top of the photo is a bit of the playground for the Neighborhood Schoolhouse
|More of the Solar Hill garden. Just off to the left are a large number of peonies, one of which can be seen here. |
The Japanese dogwood was kind of spectacular this year; it demanded a photo.
|A portion of my garden this past June.|
|Another part of my garden in mid to late Spring. |
There's lots more, including other seasons. I'm considering starting a garden blog.
That last bit in the text above (the 'haven't watched' part) refers to an attempt to screen the RKO 'Hitler's Children' for one of my younger friends. While he's knowledgeable about independent movies from the late 1980's or so up to today, he's somewhat less aware of earlier movies. At any rate, my younger friend is going to be a first time daddy soon. He made his announcement via a Facebook post whose only content was a sound file that mystified a number of folks. It was the sound of the baby's heartbeat in the womb. Now, he's never seen any of the Nancy Drew movies, and thus has no associations what-so-ever for Bonita Granville, or, for that matter, with cowboy star Tim Holt, both of whom have the lead roles in the movie. So one night not long after the incidents in Charlottesville with tiki torch bearing American Nazis, white supremacists, and the follow up ravings of Donald Trump in the role of President of the United States, we settled in to watch this bit of lurid potboiler propaganda history.
The film starts out with a Nazi rally (above), and proceeds, via flashback narration, to a 1933 confrontation between American students in Germany, and a group of teenage male Nazis in training. A fight breaks out, during which wholesome Nazi Tim Holt holds onto the American's baseball bat, refusing to give it back. Plucky Bonita Granville looks him in the eye and suddenly exclaims, "Heil Hitler". When Holt's arm rises in automatic salute, she punches him in the stomach. When the German headmaster refuses to stop his charges from fighting, the American teacher (Kent Smith, giving a performance only slightly more lively than a cigar store Indian) simply yells out, "Achtung!", which causes the German boys to fall into line. If only it were that easy in real life. We then see a little bit of the school room education of the day:
Just after Tim Holt's praise for Hitler in the clip above, my young friend asked me to stop the movie. Under the current political climate, and being an expectant father, it was too much. His heart had started racing, and he was beginning to have a bit of a panic attack. We were only about 10 minutes into the film. Thinking back on it, it was probably a good thing we changed the picture. I'd have freaked out if I was an expectant parent, too. And I'm not just thinking of the scene in which a young mother to be hopes her birth is painful as a tribute to the Führer. This picture gets far more lurid and serious.
Of course, the reverberations of movies like 'Hitler's Children' into our own time should give us pause. We currently have an administration in power which excuses the outrages of the far right, pretending there were good people amongst them, condemning those on the left for their part in the violence (even though every report I saw or read stated that the 'antifa' crowd only resorted to violence when the Nazi types began charging at women, children, the clergy, and people with brown skin). Pictures that came out of the event were startling.
|Is it live, or is it Memorex?|
Today I turned 67 years old. My parents divorced when I was quite little; my mother was gone by the time I was 6 months old. My father, my brother, and I lived with my Aunt and Uncle in what had been my Grandfather's house. My Uncle had fought in WWII. When television came in, I wasn't allowed to have it on much after 5pm, when my Uncle got home. The noise and cacophony of tv shows with children's laughter, and especially sudden loud sounds, unnerved him and he would fly into rages. I won't dwell on it, or on what would now be easily recognizable as PTSD, except to say that I often felt terrorized as a child. The experiences I had in those years would come back to affect me later in life. As it turns out, I was diagnosed as having PTSD too. The stresses and coping mechanisms from those days got me through my first years on my own in the late 1960's, the Vietnam war protests, getting beat up because I had long hair, being beaten up and/or threatened for being perceived as gay, being shot in the head (not as serious as it sounds, except for the psyche - it was delivered via a pellet rifle after I was seen returning a European kiss on the cheek to a male friend returning to Germany. Still, the bullet lodged in my skull and they thought I might have some damage.) During my years managing bookstores in NYC, my assistant was from Pakistan. When the Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran, my assistant became agitated and predicted the rise of ultra conservative Islam. He was in New York studying to become an architect so he could build decent homes for the poor of his country. He told me flat out that with the rise of conservative Islam, he was concerned about returning home; he might be killed for becoming educated, and going to the United States. The best cashier I had was a gorgeous black woman from the Caribbean, with a lilt in her voice which would make most people smile. My warehouse manager, who was the guy I trained to run the science fiction section, was from Cuba. You get the idea; I had a lot of friends and co-workers who, if they were around today, might face deportation. The sad fact of the matter is that my country is rounding people up. Some have been deported, some are being held. Many on trumped up charges, or minor traffic style violations. Now a movement is on to deport those who were brought here as children, who grew up here, and became part of the fabric of life here. Legal protections for transgender folk are being removed. Repealing the right of marriage for gay folks won't be far behind. The Trump Department of Justice has already insisted that gay folks are not entitled to job protections under federal anti-discrimination laws. Confrontations in the culture wars continue, and will, until decent normal everyday people start to riot. And what then? Well, perhaps that's why the Trump administration has 1.2 Billion dollars in the Federal budget for 'detainee beds'. I have been accused of having a decidedly liberal paranoia about this, but I could spend several hours writing out the reasons for such suspicions, and pointing out the similarities between the US today and Europe in the early 1930's. You're free to laugh at me if you want, I won't mind. But I will remind you that Nazis are on the march. In America. They may be carrying mass market torches, but that doesn't change the fact that they are there, marching, provoking, waiting. Their own leaders will tell you that an army is being built. We have a President who threatened violence from his supporters if he wasn't elected. His supporters threaten violence if he is removed from office. Go ahead and laugh some more. But remember the following image when the 'arrests' start. It was painted on a fence in California a few days after the Charlottesville events. And you'd better hope to hell everyone in your family is straight, and white. A lot of the seeds being sown aren't for flowers.