Saturday, July 21, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
By MILOS FORMAN
WHEN I was asked to direct “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” my friends warned me not to go anywhere near it. The story is so American, they argued, that I, an immigrant fresh off the boat, could not do it justice. They were surprised when I explained why I wanted to make the film. To me it was not just literature but real life, the life I lived in Czechoslovakia from my birth in 1932 until 1968. The Communist Party was my Nurse Ratched, telling me what I could and could not do; what I was or was not allowed to say; where I was and was not allowed to go; even who I was and was not.
Now, years later, I hear the word “socialist” being tossed around by the likes of Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others. President Obama, they warn, is a socialist. The critics cry, “Obamacare is socialism!” They falsely equate Western European-style socialism, and its government provision of social insurance and health care, with Marxist-Leninist totalitarianism. It offends me, and cheapens the experience of millions who lived, and continue to live, under brutal forms of socialism.
My sister-in-law’s father, Jan Kunasek, lived in Czechoslovakia all his life. He was a middle-class man who ran a tiny inn in a tiny village. One winter night in 1972, during a blizzard, a man, soaked to the bone, awakened him at 2 in the morning. The man looked destitute and, while asking for shelter, couldn’t stop cursing the Communists. Taking pity, the elderly Mr. Kunasek put him up for the night. A couple of hours later, Mr. Kunasek was awakened again, this time by three plainclothes policemen. He was arrested, accused of sheltering a terrorist and sentenced to several years of hard labor in uranium mines. The state seized his property. When he was finally released, ill and penniless, he died within a few weeks. Years later we learned that the night visitor had been working for the police. According to the Communists, Mr. Kunasek was a class enemy and deserved to be punished.
I found myself in an equally absurd, but less depressing, situation when I was moonlighting on Czech TV as a moderator, introducing movies, in the early ’50s. It was live, so there was no chance to bleep politically undesirable words. Every utterance, even in supposedly spontaneous interviews, had to be scripted, approved by the censors, learned by heart and repeated verbatim on the air. When I was preparing to interview one Comrade Homola, a powerful Communist, I sent him questions, but didn’t receive his answers. My boss, also a powerful party member, told me: “He is lazy! Write his answers for him, and remind him to learn them by heart.” So I did. Comrade Homola arrived at the last moment. When the red light went on and I asked the first question, he reached into his pocket, took out my answers and started to read them, awkwardly and obediently — including my inadvertent grammatical mistakes. And thus, to my consternation, went the whole interview. In the control booth, my boss hit the roof. I was fired the next day for ridiculing a representative of the state.
Whatever his faults, I don’t see much of a socialist in Mr. Obama or, thankfully, signs of that system in this great nation. Mr. Obama is accused of trying to expand the reach of government — into health care, financial regulation, the auto industry and so on. It’s fair to question whether the federal government should have expanded powers: America, to its credit, has debated this since its birth.
But let’s be clear about how frightening socialism actually could be.
Marx believed that we could wipe out social inequities and Lenin tested those ideas on the Soviet Union. It was his dream to create a classless society. But reality set in, as it always does. And the results were devastating. Blood flowed through Russia’s streets. The Soviet elite usurped all privileges; sycophants were allowed some and the plebes none. The entire Eastern bloc, including Czechoslovakia, followed miserably.
I’m not sure Americans today appreciate quite how predatory socialism was. It was not — as Mr. Obama’s detractors suggest — merely a government so centralized and bloated that it hobbled private enterprise: it was a spoils system that killed off everything, all in the name of “social justice.”
What we need is not to strive for a perfect social justice — which never existed and never will — but for social harmony. Harmony in music is, by its nature, exhilarating and soothing. In an orchestra, the different players and instruments perform together, in support of an overall melody. Today, our democracy, a miraculous gathering of diverse players, desperately needs such unity. If all participants play fair and strive for the common good, we can achieve a harmony that eluded the doctrinaire socialist projects. But if just one section, or even one player, is out of tune, the music will disintegrate into cacophony.
I am not asking Mr. Obama and the Republican leaders to stop playing instruments of their choosing. All I am asking is that every player keep in mind the noble melody of our country. Otherwise the noisy dissonance might become loud enough to wake another Marx, or even worse.
Milos Forman won Academy Awards for best director for the films “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus.”
Posted by BabbaZee at 12:12 PM
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
He had been receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer since last August.
Posted by BabbaZee at 5:01 PM
“Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life ?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied.
“There is only One who is good.
If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
~ Matthew 19
How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?
"Romney types, of course, are the ones who sign the front of the paycheck, and the Obama types are the one who have spent their entire lives signing the back of them," she said."Since June of 2009 or so, we have seen 2.4 million private sector jobs created, but we've had 3.1 million people going on Social Security disability," said West, R-Palm Beach Gardens. "So once again, we are creating the sense of economic dependence, which, to me, is a form of modern 21st-century slavery." WELL excuse me, Mr. Healthy Allen West for getting a pancreatic tumor and having to stop work, never mind that I was PAYING INTO THE FUCKING SYSTEM with every paycheck for 30 years before that but hey I am just a stupid worker.Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth....Ayn Rand or Jesus Christ? Conservatives Can't Have It Both Ways This is the ultimate irony in American political life right now, the conservatives who swear on a stack of Bibles that they worship Jesus Christ when they really bow down to the philosophy of Ayn Rand and the golden idol of the free market to be placed at the center of all other things. They preach of an American exceptionalism blessed by a Christian God, and call for America to be a shining city on a hill which can be an example to the entire world. Yet their exceptionalism isn't based on our country being moral the way Jesus would have understood it, but moral the way Rand and the Social Darwinists of the 1880s and '90s would have understood it: whoever gets rich deserves to be, and whoever is poor is a leech on society. Their vision of America is shining because of the gold the wealthy among us possess, not because our society as a whole is built on morality.
Posted by BabbaZee at 9:59 AM
Monday, July 16, 2012
Indeed, in an interview for the documentary on Wojtek, a British veteran recounted how he was taken aback when he suddenly saw a full-grown bear calmly schlepping mortar shells past him during the bloody Battle of Monte Cassino, in the spring of 1944. Whether it is true or not, the story of his support in this decisive battle gave the bear legendary status among the soldiers. With the approval of the Polish high command, the company's emblem was changed to one showing a bear carrying a massive artillery shell.
Posted by BabbaZee at 11:11 PM
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Posted by BabbaZee at 10:33 AM