I'm an American. That's what I say if anyone should ask me my nationality. I'm a mutt made up of various immigrant peoples. My mother's father was the child of a German immigrant mother and an Irish immigrant father.
What does it feel like to be feared? I don't know. No one that I know is afraid of me. I'm a woman for one thing and I'm not really big although I'd like to lose a little weight. I have a little dog, a five-pound toy poodle named Rikki, a rescue, and he's afraid of me. I'm working on him, conditioning him to my touch and to being around me. His fear has brought out something curious in my own nature, something I don't like. I get frustrated with him sometimes. I say to him, "I've spent lots of money on you. I've loved you. I've taken care of you. Why are you still afraid of me?" Actually I've raised my voice a couple times when I've said this but raising my voice or doing anything that would scare him is counterproductive. It's up to me to keep my anger in check. He can't help being afraid of me any more than I can help being afraid of a wild pack of wolves. That's just an example. There aren't any wolves around here.
I loved this movie. It had just the right combination of dark humor, zaniness and bookishness for my tastes. I laughed often and hard although it was the kind of laughter that explodes out of me when something bad has happened or almost happened. It's an embarrassed kind of laughter. Birdman was an honest and piercingly transparent look at the 55-year-old character of Riggan Thomson whose hope for a second chance at stardom propels the plot toward its resolution. Riggan's humanity is exposed and oozes out on the screen. How honest is this movie? When I prepared calf's liver in the past I used to surgically cut out the whitish bile ducts from the gelatinous mass of floppy burgundy flesh with a very small and very sharp knife. And this is what Director Alejandro González Iñárritu did. He took a small, sharp knife and carved into the psychic flesh of Michael Keaton to portray the character of Riggan, and Keaton, sensing that somewhere in this outpouring of emotion and intense acting there lay a renewal for him, acted his way into a portrayal of self conjoined with character that may well go down in cinematographic history. He sliced out the emotional bile ducts of his psyche and served him up to us on a platter. Salome has nothing on Iñárritu.
Pulitzer Prize winning George Will, political pundit and right wing columnist, is an intelligent man and a man of conscience. He proved that to me when he reported about Nixon's interference in the peace talks prior to the 1968 presidential election. The choice that year was between Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon and it was a close race. Then President Lyndon Baines Johnson was in the process of brokering a cease-fire to end the Vietnam War and if he had been successful, the election may well have tipped to favor Humphrey.
I was ten when Lucy and her family moved in next door. It was winter and although I had seen her, we hadn't really been able to play together. She went to public school where my father was a teacher and I went to St. Augustine’s, the Catholic parish school. We didn't get together until summer. I asked her to take a walk. I always walked then; in the summer I often walked ten miles or so a day. Our street was a dead-end and stopped two doors up with the McKay's house. It was quiet and there were woods and empty fields nearby. I wandered everywhere unafraid. Lucy's mother, Marta D'Angelo, wouldn't allow Lucy to walk in the woods or the fields unless an adult was present. My parents didn't care. The only rules were that I should be home for meals, do all my homework and help around the house when asked.
The Giver starring Jeff Bridges in the title role, Meryl Streep as the Chief Elder, Brenton Thwaites as Jonas and the beautiful Odeya Rush, a newcomer from Israel, as Fiona is a movie designed for young adults. It is about an imagined community where there is no color, no crime, no hate, no sex and no discord of any kind. Meryl Streep, who appears only as a hologram, along with the Community of Elders, makes the rules and sees that they are enforced. The people take drugs to keep them obedient and are always on camera. They have no memory of anything else and no sexuality. Since history is repetitive someone has to remember or they will continue to make the same mistakes over and over and the character of the Giver played by Jeff Bridges fulfills that role. Only he can remember the past and he is getting old. He must pass on his knowledge. Jonas is special. He can see colors where the rest of the community can see only in black and white. He is chosen as the Receiver.
The Rohingyas are outcasts, circling out from Myanmar's borders but staying close, not intermingling or assimilating into neighboring countries, but waiting, suspended like oil in water, until they can return to their homeland. And therein lies the problem. Their hosts, although sympathetic, are compassion fatigued and as they see monies intended for their own people, their own infrastructure, poured into the bottomless pit of Rohingya need, they toughen against them.
Ralph Ellison, author of the week in my Wednesday Writing Group, wrote "King of the Bingo Game" in 1944, eight years before the publication of his monumental novel, Invisible Man. The story was an incubator for many of the techniques that grew to maturity in Invisible Man.