The American Way: A True Story of Nazi Escape, Superman, and Marilyn Monroe Book Review

One of the things that I find interesting is how pop culture and history is intertwined.

The American Way: A True Story of Nazi Escape, Superman, and Marilyn Monroe, by Helen Stapinski and Bonnie Siegler, was published last month. It brings together three stories that otherwise, would exist in separate worlds: a Jewish family desperate to escape Nazi Germany, the creation and cultural explosion of Superman, and the making of The Seven Year Itch.

This book is fantastic. It takes what would otherwise be the standard Holocaust narrative and adds new levels to it. At its heart, it speaks to the American dream, how powerful it can be, and the complications that we don’t see coming.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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RIP Topol

There are some actors who are known for a variety of roles. Then there are others who become iconic for a single part.

The actor Topol (also known as Chaim Topol) died yesterday. Born in Tel Aviv in 1935, he is best known for playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Since 1966, he played the role over 3000 times and is best remembered for the 1971 film adaptation.

Though he was only in his 30s when the played Tevye in film and was aged up via makeup and costume, he was perfectly cast in the role.

He was a proud Jew, a proud Israeli, and an icon for the ages.

May his memory be a blessing. Z”l.

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Republican Fuckery XII: FL Bloggers Register with the State, DeSantis Bookstore Protest, and Crystal Mason Should Not Have Been in Jail

Am I the only one who is tired of the Republican‘s endless shtick? They seem to be unaware or unconcerned that the country is going down the drain.

In Florida, State Senator Jason Brodeur proposed a bill that would require bloggers who publish political pieces to register with the state. Though it was initially tied to Governor Ron DeSantis, that was quickly refuted. While it is heartening that the Governor was not behind it, this denial of freedom of speech is very concerning and a warning sign that should not be ignored.

Also in the sunshine state, DeSantis was at a book signing (and keeping his 2024 Presidential hopes alive). He was confronted by supporters of the former guy. Instead of ignoring them and focusing on the attendees, he had the protestors forced out of the store. While security escorted them out, they cried for freedom of speech. Though DeSantis has yet to formalize his campaign, this speaks to the division on the right. It also reveals that the Governor is not as much of a badass as he claims he is.

And finally, in Texas, Crystal Mason was doing her civic duty by voting in the 2016 Presidential election. Instead of doing her business and walking out, she was accused of illegally casting a provisional ballot and was sentenced to five years in prison. At the time, she was on supervised release for a previous conviction. The law in Texas bars convicted felons from voting if their sentence has not been completed.

According to her legal team, she was unaware that her sentence had not reached its end. What strikes me is that this sentence goes well beyond what it should have been. It reeks of racism and denies this woman her right as a citizen. Though the conviction has been overturned, the message is clear. Because she is a woman of color, her voice and vote is not wanted or needed.

Just another day in America.

Flashback Friday: Finding Neverland (2004)

The behind-the-scenes stories of the inspiration of our greatest literary work are fascinating to me. As a reader, it allows for a deeper understanding of the work and the psyche of the author.

The 2004 film, Finding Neverland, is based on the origin story of Peter Pan. J.M. Barrie‘s (Johnny Depp) career as a writer is near its breaking point. The failure of his latest work has threatened to destroy his career. Seeking inspiration, he goes out for a walk.

Randomly he meets Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet). Sylvia is newly widowed with four young sons. Her third son, Peter (Freddie Highmore) has not yet gotten over the death of his father. As J.M. becomes close with Sylvia and her boys, there are two obstacles to their friendship: his wife Mary Answell (Radha Mitchell), and Sylvia’s mother Emma Wightwick ( Julie Christie).

J.M. becomes a paternal figure to the boys and is trying to bring Peter out of his grief. As this is happening, a germ of an idea comes to him. When it seems that Peter is finally turning the corner, his mother gets sick.

This film is lovely. It is well-written, well-acted, and the perfect tearjerker without being too schmaltzy. Winslet, as usual, is gold. Depp is at the peak of his career. Unfortunately, his reputation as an actor and a human being has taken a hit that is of his own doing.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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