Time for this week’s Current Events Write-Up, in which I link to news articles and opinion pieces and comment on them.
I am glad that a conservative is criticizing sexism in Hollywood. I hope that the criticism is sincere, though, and not just an attempt to argue that Hollywood is hypocritical for criticizing Trump, while having sexism in its own ranks.
Progressives point to Kansas as an example of tax cuts not working. Well, Moore points to states that had high taxes, and that approach didn’t work, either! What does work?
I thought of writing a tribute to the late Nat Hentoff but I did not do so, since my familiarity with his work is rather cursory. I liked what I read from him in the Opposing Viewpoints series that I read as a child, and I one time saw a book that he wrote: Free Speech for Me But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other. I respected him for criticizing both sides of the political spectrum! In this column, Olasky discusses another dimension to Hentoff’s thought: Hentoff was pro-life on the abortion issue.
Rachel Held Evans linked to this in her recent post on activism. I plan to read some of those, starting with Palestinian theologian Mitri Raheb.
Some are comparing the current protests at town-hall meetings with the Tea Party protests shortly after Barack Obama became President. I find myself having more sympathy for the current protesters at town-hall meetings, than for the Tea Partiers. The current protesters do not want people to lose their health insurance. The Tea Partiers tended to dismiss those who needed help as moochers (or such was my impression).
I liked this part of Trump’s speech, especially that last sentence: “I just met with officials and workers from a great American company, Harley-Davidson. In fact, they proudly displayed five of their magnificent motorcycles, made in the USA, on the front lawn of the White House. (Laughter and applause.) And they wanted me to ride one and I said, ‘No, thank you.’ (Laughter.) At our meeting, I asked them, how are you doing, how is business? They said that it’s good. I asked them further, how are you doing with other countries, mainly international sales? They told me — without even complaining, because they have been so mistreated for so long that they’ve become used to it — that it’s very hard to do business with other countries because they tax our goods at such a high rate. They said that in the case of another country, they taxed their motorcycles at 100 percent. They weren’t even asking for a change. But I am. (Applause.)”
And the Republicans, who are ordinarily free traders, applauded! On that note, see Pat Buchanan’s It’s Trump’s Party Now.
This last week, I watched the “When We Rise” miniseries, which was about the American gay rights movements from the 1970s to 2015. I enjoyed it: I liked how the characters found each other and also the series’ presentation of the different views among gays and lesbians. Donohue’s column stood out to me because it made me ask: Was it wrong for the miniseries to present gay characters who criticized Catholics? How would people respond if a miniseries criticized Orthodox Jews? I don’t find what the miniseries did to be objectionable: What is wrong with presenting characters who have problems with the teachings of Catholicism? For that matter, I don’t think it would be problematic to present characters who have problems with Orthodox Judaism! There should be some line, though: We should not stereotype an entire group of people. Where that precise line is would merit discussion. I should note that, later in the miniseries, there was a positive depiction of a Catholic nun, who reassured a lesbian mother that it was not the mother’s fault that her daughter was acting out.
I like Annette O’Toole in IT, Smallville, and, more recently, the miniseries 11.22.63. This interview was worth reading. I especially liked this question: “For me, your portrayal of Beverly Marsh ranks right up there with the best, and if you’ll indulge me my James Lipton moment, I’ll tell you why. … At the start of the movie, we see each of these characters get ‘the call’ saying old Pennywise is back and they’ve got to return to Derry. Pretty much every one of them has a total nervous breakdown upon getting this call. Except for Bev. For her, it’s a moment of transformation, of remembering who she really is. In the first moments we see her, she’s a somewhat neurotic, anxious, mess of a woman, but once she removes herself from the abusive partner and gets in that taxi, there’s a kind of peace and calm that settles over her. So before Bev even leaves, she’s already begun fighting ‘the demon,’ dealing with those scars from her childhood. This shows us that Bev is stronger than the lot of them. Bev is the key, really. You convey all of this in a matter of seconds. How did you prepare emotionally for those more traumatic moments we see at the beginning of the film?”
I love the taxi scene. The driver warmly asks Bev where she is going, and she replies that she needs to get to Maine. The driver responds, “Then we’ll find an airport that goes to Maine.”