OK. I am NOT a dancer. If you have ever seen me, you would know that. I am also kind of an average man. I like movies where stuff blows up. I like fast cars. Gadgets. Action. Dark humor. BUT- I can’t help but be impressed when I see someone who can REALLY dance.
I’ve re-watched a few classic movies recently- and it strikes me as odd how many of them contain words that are probably MORE relevant TODAY than at any other time in history!
Maybe you agree… maybe you don’t… but isn’t that the nice thing about AMERICA? We can both love it and want it to succeed for the good of our families… and PEACEFULLY disagree about how we get there!
It is FINE to disagree! And it is CERTAINLY better than anyone who decides to just “sit it out”. You HAVE to stand up for what you believe in! You can do that without hurting other people, or name-calling, causing other people inconvenience or anxiety, belittling anyone and NOT LISTENING! The BEST thing you can do to serve yourself and mankind: PUT YOURSELF IN THE OTHER PERSON’S SHOES for a moment. Feel what they feel. What are their motivations? Are the motivations fear and anger? Or are the motivations hopeful and compassionate? But whatever you do, don’t just sit there.
As JESUS once said:
I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm— neither hot nor cold— I am about to vomit you out of My mouth!
Revelation 3:15 & 16
NOW: BACK TO THE MOVIES….
Let’s start with something REALLY old. CHARLIE CHAPLIN in THE GREAT DICTATOR.
A few things to think about while you read this:
Chaplin and Hitler were born within a week of one another and they both had ‘THAT” mustache.
In the film, Chaplin (who plays a Jewish barber) gets mistaken for the Hitler character.
While Hitler was trying to destroy the Jews in Europe, racial segregation was strictly enforced in much of The United States. Because of Jim Crow laws and by custom, blacks couldn’t eat at a restaurant counter along with whites. They couldn’t use the same water fountain or ride in the same part of the bus. The civil rights movement was still in its infancy. There were no laws ensuring voting rights or equal access to jobs and public facilities, and their wouldn’t be for decades.
Released in 1940, this speech still has great meaning today.
‘THE GREAT DICTATOR’ SPEECH
“I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….
The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.
To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. …..
In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.
Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will!
Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. In the name of democracy, let us all unite!”
Another film I would like to explore today: NETWORK
Stuff to know about NETWORK:
It won four Academy Awards
It’s about a news network doing poorly in the ratings until its host (Howard Beale) goes nuts and says he is going to kill himself live on the air. The network USES that for ratings. They let the crazy person on the air so they can get high ratings. It gets WAY crazier than that but it is too much to describe here! Watch the damn movie!
[In my opinion] “NEWS” as we know it was ruined the day the networks started allowing ADVERTISING on it. Having advertisers means you need high ratings. Needing high ratings means doing what audiences react to INSTEAD of REPORTING NEWS. Now we are in a ‘the more shocking the better’ world of News-o-tainment. This movie addresses that and so much more.
Released in 1976, this speech still has great meaning today.
So now- Without further delay, here is
HOWARD BEALE’S “NETWORK” SPEECH
I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’
Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say: ‘I’m a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!’
So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’
Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!…You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first, get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’
ONE LAST NOTE
…from the Independence Day speech:
“We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. You will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist.
We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive!”
Last night I witnessed Hollywood’s death rattle. It’s over. The people who are responsible for this part of Los Angeles have either lost the battle or given it up willingly.
You can WATCH THE ABOVE VIDEO, but long story short: Last night I watched a guy assault tourists, women, men, locals, push people, knock people over, hit people… and NOBODY CARED. I tried to intervene but the guy had two other friends who wouldn’t allow it. Two Andrews International or Hollywood BID security officers stood by and watched. They said they had ‘already solved the problem’ while this guy is still assaulting people! Then they said it was ‘not their job’ and ‘He is on public property’. Multiple people BEGGED them to do something and in response, they were INSANELY rude and extremely dismissive. They actually gave one of those “shoo!” waves and every comment was met with a loud “Have a good evening sir! Have a good evening sir!” They were JUST about to leave when they finally decided to do the right thing: Go over and PUSH THE GUY DOWN.
…and with that, it was “Mission accomplished”! Job well done, fellas! Now go have a beer!
(They just left, of course). And, Of COURSE, the crazy guy just continues his reign of terror… and as a bonus- all in front of little kids.
YES. I called the police. Later I called the police AGAIN. I stayed in the area for over an hour and LAPD never showed. To be fair: ONE #lapd car DROVE BY without stopping. (Probably on the way to the mystery meeting at the convenience store at Highland and Yucca where many of them congregate in a back room every single night). FYI- I have supported various police organizations my entire life, setting up funds for families of fallen officers and supporting a memorial for fallen officers. I have awards and accolades from departments ranging from New York City, to Washington DC, Houston, Memphis… in fact I was just talking to a friend of mine from the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force this morning. YES LAPD is short on equipment… and staff …and pay. – But that is NO excuse for someone to be able to assault people without any impedance for over an hour in the most populous part of town!
Hollywood is the FACE of Los Angeles.
People travel from all over the world and bring their families. Tourists are responsible for a GIANT portion of the income of this city and the people in it. It SEEMS like it would be a good idea to take care of it. I guess not. It seems like they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Why have a Christmas parade when people may step on hypodermic needles? Why host the Oscars when ALL of Hollywood is overrun with homeless people, gangsters and scam artists? Why focus so much time and effort on one night, when the other 364 nights are like this?
The stars on Hollywood Blvd are cracked and broken and dirty and embarrassing. PROOF?
Here is a RANDOM EXAMPLE of one small part of the internationally famous and highly glamorous HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME!
There are giant holes are in the sidewalk where an adult person could EASILY fit the entire lower part of their leg. I have no idea how the city isn’t sued every single day.
I had HOPES that just ONE celebrity would step in and help rejuvenate this town that is the symbol of the film industry, acting, television, music… – Basically all of ENTERTAINMENT for almost everyone in the world. That has not happened.
I tagged celebrities in my posts. I wrote letters and sent emails.
I offered to volunteer for The Hollywood Business Improvement District people. I contacted the mayor.
I contacted the media. Local news, national news Hollywood papers and magazines.
I even came up with a few SOLID ideas of how to solve some major issues with low-cost! Simple/easy common-sense solutions.
I have tried to bring attention to this and otherwise done what small things any individual citizen can do.
BUT, to quote a song- “You have to know when to hold ’em… and know when to fold ’em”.
At this point I am just shouting into the wind.
So- You win, Hollywood!
You have earned your reputation as a place that crushes people!