Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hatespeak: Damage To The American Psyche

The cultivation of hate and fear on the part of the Republican Party during this election season cannot AT ALL be equaled by what the Democrats are doing/have done. McCain should be ashamed of himself for letting whomever is responsible (and I fear it's McCain himself) drag his campaign into the negative for almost all of the time he has been running. Shameful and very beneath him.

To say it's distasteful is an understatement. To say it entirely underestimates the intelligence of any voter who is not blinded by unhealthy partisanship is more apt. To say it is reckless and damages the American psyche is to the point.

When those McCain and Palin supporters yelled 'kill him' and 'terrorist' after having been urged into destructive and blind mob rage, my eyes were opened. No longer could I trust that responsible politicians were at the helm. It was sad and made me very angry.

We recently saw the movie 'Bobby' which despite its faults, is a dramatically powerful film. It has a thought-provoking ending sequence which features real audio of a speech made by Bobby Kennedy on the 'mindless menace of violence in America' and bears closer scrutiny for its relevance today. The text of that speech in its entirety is here.

The film makes clear that here was a man who inspired thousands of American youth to act in accordance with their better selves for the good of society as a whole, and who was snuffed out before the good that he could accomplish would be fully realized.

In brief, I remember as a child being deeply affected by watching my grade school teacher cry when JFK was killed. We were sent home early, much to my pleasure and confusion. A few years later, I was still too young to digest what the killing of Malcolm X, RFK and Martin Luther King meant to society and in particular those whom they inspired.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with the politics, the utter disregard for the American psyche that political hatespeak engenders is long lasting, slow to heal and crosses party lines. Partisan political strategies should not include inciting fringe elements to kill. The ends DO NOT justify the means no matter what.

The irresponsible parties - and I'm citing McCain and Palin here - at the very least need to fess up to their reckless strategies, show some real leadership and get into healing the divide. They need to re-align the nutcases out there.

You know, there was a time in 1968 when I remember that Sonny Liston was going to fight Cassius Clay - a thoroughly worldwide publicized event - and I thought, 'wonder if someone's going to get shot?'

The America I want to encourage to flourish is free from engendering such thoughts. The fact that Bobby Kennedy's speech is so very relevant today speaks to how far we've come as a society in that regard. Hate, fear, division. These are destructive tactics which are very difficult if not near impossible to contain once they are unleashed. That's what makes their rise to the surface so unbelievable, especially encouraged by those who are in a position of leadership!

I don't wish to be pulled some forty odd years back to those days, by politicians whose bad choices and dum-dum strategies make them so desperate as to incite assassination as an acceptable strategic alternative.

Mad Men Season 2 Finale Thoughts and Opinion

I've watched Mad Men on AMC and it is wonderful. Each episode deserves critique and scrutiny unlike any series out there in TV land. The writing is compelling and entirely unique and creative. Love it.

Now, regarding the finale of Season Two: Meditations on an Emergency

SITUATION: Pete and the rifle - I don't believe he'll kill himself. Why off a great character? Besides, when Pete lists the pros and cons in his head, he'll discover he's better off living. He still has options. (versus death which gives one no options...okay only the one... and only once.)

BTW I like what they've done with Pete. Giving him a scene or two to show that he is a person under the plastic falseness of his business persona.

SITUATION: Duck and the Big Deal - I loved that Duck's plans had the one major flaw which certainly jeopardizes a major asset (Don) that is part and parcel of Sterling Cooper Agency. W/O Don, S&C is devalued which puts the deal with the British ad agency in jeopardy since it didn't seem like it was completely finalized (despite what the switchboard lady said). Also puts Don (surprisingly) in possibly a bargaining position. Maybe even Bert and Roger Sterling. Even 'post' deal.

SITUATION: Don and Betty Draper - Betty had her revenge-fling emotionally leveling the playing field between her and Don. With Don's 'baptism' and presumed new commitment to their relationship, plus her own growth, they should have a healthier, more truthful relationship going forward. At least a possibly more pleasant home in which to bring a new baby.

Did you like it, when Betty repeated 'It's not the right time.' at the doctor's, it was kind of a code for 'how can I terminate this pregnancy, options please'. Of course, speaking in vagaries leaves her blameless for openly asking about abortion - still controversial to this day, let alone 45+ years ago.

SITUATION: Joan and the Jerk - My hope is that Joan will NOT marry that idiot. Hopefully she will realize her value and grow a pair and find a more personally satisfying path. Of course, continuing with the marriage and feeling unhappy and trapped is the stuff of drama (see what it did for Don and Betty) so if she gets married, I won't be surprised. Maybe it's just 'cause I like Joan's wry smile and want to see it more.

SITUATION: Harry's Character - Was it just me or did Harry move from likable to very unlikeable in a matter of three or so episodes? What happened? His insecurities show a negativity which is very unattractive. I didn't like when he manhandled the TV. Really - treat your electronics with respect, dude.

SITUATION: Peggy and Father Gill - I did not like Father Gill threatening Peggy with eternal damnation in order to get her to open up. Not a good strategy. When people are pushed, they most likely will push back... not open up. Really showed a lack of maturity on the part of Fr. Gill.

I DID think Peggy was brutally frank and even abrupt with Pete, possibly revealing how much suffering she's left unexpressed. She was like 'I had your kid but gave it away'... peace out cub scout.

SITUATION: Sally and Bobby, the Draper Children - Lastly, maybe Sally and Bobby won't have to spend as many years in therapy as adults, now that Don's home.

By the way, it would be funny if, in the series' last episode, they introduce an Italian neighbor kid who turns out to be the future Tony Soprano, thus linking the two series. I'm just sayin'.