Daily Archives: May 7, 2022

A League of Their Own Character Review: Ira Lowenstein

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movieĀ A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

The key to any successful business is marketing. The product or service can be the best thing since sliced bread, but without the buying public being aware of it, success is unlikely to happen. In A League of Their Own, Ira Lowenstein (David Strathairn) is the man behind the appeal of the AAGPBL. When his boss, Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall) wants to close down the league due to the lack of an audience, it is Ira who keeps it alive. But, like any businessman, the cold truth of the bottom line counteracts the personal relationships of its employees. When Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) becomes a star, that spotlight adds to the long-simmering tension with her younger sister, Kit Keller (Lori Petty).

To sum it up: It takes vision, drive, and belief to make it in the business world. This is especially true when an idea is new, untested, and the response from the public is not what it was expected to be. What makes Ira special is that he believes in the players, even when it contradicts the ideals of the period and is not bringing in the expected profit.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Ridley Road Review

Hate, in all of its forms, is always around us. It is an unfortunate part of the human experience. Despite our advances in science, medicine, education, and technology, it remains ever-present.

The new Masterpiece series, Ridley Road (based on the book of the same name by Jo Bloom) premiered last weekend. The heroine of the series, Vivian Epstein (Agnes O’Casey) is the daughter of a Jewish family in England in the early 1960s. She is expected to live as her mother and grandmothers did before her: give up her job, marry the boy chosen for her, and take care of her husband and children. But Vivian wants to be more than a housewife and mother.

She follows her boyfriend Jack Morris (Tom Varey) to London. Jack is a part of the 62 group, an underground Jewish organization who are fighting against the growing fascism in the UK. Going undercover as a member of the neo-nazi group led by Colin Jordan (Rory Kinnear), both Vivian and Jack play a dangerous game of going along with their new identities while trying to keep their relationship alive.

I am absolutely loving this series so far. It’s James Bond meets a love story with a feminist coming of age narrative and a background of combating prejudice. What makes the program for me is that our heroes are ordinary people. It is, I think a reminder that change does not always come from the top. It comes from the person on the street who sees a wrong and does what they can to right that wrong.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Ridley Road airs on PBS on Sunday night at 9PM EST.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Judaism, Television, TV Review

Pandemic, Inc.: Inc Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick Book Review

Alexander Pope once said the following:

“To err is human, to forgive divine”

The new non-fiction book, Pandemic, Inc.: Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick, by J. David McSwane, was published in April. Since Covid-19 entered the United States in March of 2020, the government has spent billions of dollars to keep the nation economically afloat. Nearly 1 million lives have been lost. While I feel that we have to remember that this virus is new to us and therefore a medical hurdle in its own right, we also have to recognize the chaos, corruption, and incompetence that was created by the previous presidential administration.

Using every tool in his investigative journalism toolbox, McSwane explores that while millions of Americans were getting sick, dying, or an inch away from being broke/homeless, others took advantage of the situation. Traveling to different parts of the country, he tells the story of those who only saw dollar signs. First, there was the con artist who was given a multi-million dollar contract to provide PPEs and failed to provide the promised products. Then there was the Paycheck Protection Program, which was supposed to help small businesses stay open and keep employees on the payroll. But before many of these companies could get their hands on the money, the money was gobbled up by larger businesses whose bottom line was less likely to be affected. Finally, there was the whistleblower who understood that masks were necessary to save lives. Before their message could get to the public, they were muzzled by officials and elements within the right-wing press.

As I got further into this book, I became angry. In our greatest hour of need, when we relied on elected officials and business leaders to step up, they saw an opportunity to enrich themselves. Instead of relying on science, medicine, and logic, they pushed ideas that they knew were lies, took advantage, and thought only of filling their pocketbooks.

This is absolutely one of the best books I have read this year. If there was a list of titles that every American should read, this one would most certainly be on it. It is a reminder of the choices we have when times are tough. Do we only see ourselves and our needs or do we put others first?

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Pandemic, Inc.: Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick wherever books are sold.

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