Before Video Killed the Radio Star

King George VI giving 'the King's Speech" on Sep 3, 1939.

King George VI giving "the King's Speech" to his country on the eve of World War II.

[a spoiler-free review of THE KING’S SPEECH starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush]
The King's SpeechIn 2006, THE QUEEN appeared in movie theaters, telling the story of the Royal Family’s reaction to Princess Diana’s death.  Nominated for six Oscars, it won one:  Helen Mirren’s extraordinary performance as Queen Elizabeth II.  Ultimately, the movie comments on how personal family matters intersect with the duties of government in the age of modern communications.

This year sees another film, THE KING’S SPEECH, which is equally extraordinary and deals with similar themes.  The King in the title refers to Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, played to perfection by Colin Firth (who may just garner an Oscar himself for this performance).  And just as THE QUEEN deals with the new rules of society writ by modern technology (the rise of the modern 24 hour news cycle), THE KING’S SPEECH shows the Continue Reading

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Very Superstitious

Once upon a time there were only 12 signs to the zodiac...

[don’t let the stars get in your eyes]
In the western world, astrology is based on the sun moving through 12 signs of the zodiac.  This is an ancient tradition, preceding the modern Gregorian calendar (adopted in 1582), so it’s already hard to believe that a particular sign has a particular set of dates associated with it.

In fact, it’s notoriously difficult to divvy up the calendar into months because months are based on days and days are based on the Earth’s rotation and there aren’t a whole number of days in a single trip around the sun (or what normal people call a “year”).  We try to fix this by having leap Continue Reading

The Language of Violence

[you can run but you can’t hide]

Sarah Palin takes aim

Sarah Palin fully understands gun imagery and language.

I had hoped that my comment yesterday about how Sarah Palin obviously saw the linkage between her hate speech and the attempted assassination of Rep Gifford and associated killings would have been the last on this subject.  I have no desire to turn this blog into a full-out political platform.  Nevertheless, I am very disturbed by the reaction of many of leaders today as they backpedal and spin the incident – and in doing so, deny the reality of their actions and the consequences of them.

You may remember that during 2009, people would show up armed to town hall meetings.  Why?  They would claim something about “god given rights.”  The reality, of course, was to intimidate opposing viewpoints.

Did major political leaders of the GOP come out emphatically against this type of behavior?

No, they did not.  In fact, they encouraged it: Continue Reading

Who pulled the trigger?

[a day for tears]

There will be many words written about the attempted assassination of Rep Giffords at a supermarket in Tuscon and the deaths that resulted.  We may even have a movement for stricter gun control just as the attempted assassination of President Reagan begat the Brady Act.

American political rhetoric has been inflamed for at least 4 years now, growing hotter from worked bellows like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Fox News Channel.  These entities, in particular, make sure the embers of political passion burn hotter by having fantasy replace Continue Reading