Every genre has their own icon. Philip Roth was one of the icons of modern fiction by Jewish authors or fiction about Jewish characters. He passed away yesterday at the age of 85.
My favorite Philip Roth novel is The Plot Against America.
In the novel, Roth re-wrote history. In 1940, FDR lost the presidential election to Charles Lindbergh. Soon after taking office, Lindbergh not only blamed the Jews for America’s ills, but also negotiated a sort of peace with Germany. The Jews in America, who thought they were safe from the racist, anti-Semitic world that their European brethren lived will soon discover that they will soon be no better off than the Jews of Europe.
We read and re-reading Philip Roth because, like all great writers, he has a way of speaking directly to his readers, regardless of their religious or cultural background.
As they say in our mutual religion, may his memory be a blessing. Not only to those who knew him on a personal level, but also to the millions who have read and loved his books over the years.
We have two choices when life throws us a curve ball. We can either roll over and take it or see the opportunities in the curve ball.
In 1921, future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was crippled by polio. He sought treatment in Warm Springs, Georgia.
In 2005, this period of FDR’s was dramatized in the TV movie, Warm Springs. Stepping into the fictionalized shoes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were Kenneth Branagh and Cynthia Nixon. While FDR is being treated for polio, he is helping to revitalize the spa and inspire the other patients, in addition to trying to keep his marriage afloat.
In American politics and American history, both FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt are giants. In humanizing the main characters, the audience sees another to the late President and First Lady that only a select few during his time in office saw.
I recommend it.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”-Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”-Carrie Fisher
Fear is not a tangible thing. It’s not something we can physically pick up and hold in our hands. But yet feel it. We can smell it, we can taste it.
One of the podcasts I regularly listen to is Problogger (which I highly recommend for my fellow bloggers). One of the things that came up in this week’s podcast was fear. Fear of starting the blog, fear of not being good enough as a blogger, fear that no one will read the blog, etc.
Fear is not entirely bad thing. The fight or flight reflex has been built into our bodies and minds for a purpose. But the question is, when we are looking straight at what scares us, do we have the courage to walk past our fears or do we let our fears stop us?
I know this question is not easy to answer. When faced with the choice of facing our fears or running away, many of us will run.
But what would happen if we didn’t run away, if we faced our fears, not knowing the consequences?
In my own life, I’ve found that when I face my fears, no matter how difficult or scary it seems, I come just a little stronger and a little more confident.
Facing our fears is often the hardest thing we will ever do. But it’s the only way we will ever most past them.
Filed under Life, Writing
Today is the anniversary of bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated “December 7th, 1941, a day that will live in infamy”.
December 7th, A Day That Will Live In Infamy- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Every generation has that event that forever alters their collective lives. For the Greatest Generation, the event is Pearl Harbor.
The 2001 film, Pearl Harbor, is the story of America’s forced entry into World War II. Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Danny (Josh Hartnett) are best friends. Rafe falls in love with Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale). Rafe is then transferred to England while Danny and Evelyn are transferred to Pearl Harbor. Things become complicated when Danny and Evelyn’s relationship becomes more than platonic. Then the Japanese attack.
This is a typical Michael Bay movie. The action and special effects are wonderful. The plot needs some tweaking.
Were the critics wrong? Not entirely. Comparisons to Titanic are inevitable (semi weak story, poorly written dialogue, major historical event, incredible special effects, etc). But where Titanic succeeds, Pearl Harbor fails.
Do I recommend this movie? If the audience is looking for historical accuracy, no. If they are looking for a typical Michael Bay film, yes.
In his speech earlier this week, President Obama spoke of fighting the terrorists that are responsible for the deaths of innocents around the world recently. The key phrase that he did not utter, and should have was “extremist Muslim terrorist”.
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
While most people who adhere to the Islamic faith simply want to live their lives as normally and peacefully as possible, some of their religious compatriots have twisted their religion into an excuse to kill and destroy.
I completely disagree with with his choice of words. I understand what President Obama is trying to do, he is trying to smooth the waters as much as possible. However, when facing an enemy whose singular goal is to destroy the world, kill as many people as they can and then remake the world into their own image, our leaders must publicly and loudly take a stand against this kind of violence.
The Allies understood that during World War II. Led by Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, the Allies met at the Tehran Conference in 1943 t0 make a public stand against the Nazis and pull their resources together to win the war. The goal of the Nazi party was not that different from from Isis, Hezbollah, or any of the extremist Muslim groups that frequently make headlines. The difference was that the leaders of the then free world understood what was needed to ensure the freedom and security of future generations.
President Obama seems to have his head in the sand in regards to this issue. I wonder what the history book will say about him in the future. Will be he remembered as the Bill Clinton of his era or the Jimmy Carter of his era? I suspect that many people of this generation will look at him the way that Americans of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s looked at Jimmy Carter.
PBS has become a staple of my Sunday night television viewing, thanks to Downton Abbey.
But with the American premiere of Downton Abbey several months away, PBS still keeps rolling out great programming to keep their audience entertained until January.
Tonight, PBS aired the first episode of The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. This multi part miniseries follows the lives of former Theodore Roosevelt, his niece Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband, former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Using a single narrative as the structure of the documentary, Ken Burns and his team start with the birth of Theodore in the 1850’s and will end with the death of Eleanor in the 1960’s.
It is more than a stiff and predictable documentary. Using pictures, archival footage, newspaper accounts of the day and personal letters and diaries, these three giants of American history are brought back to life. Another stroke of genius was to use notable actors to record the personal writing of the three subjects. Paul Giamatti is the voice of Theodore, Meryl Streep is the voice of Eleanor and Edward Hermann is the voice of Franklin.
I was so enthralled that I thought it was a fictional Shakespearean drama, not a real life story of one of the greatest political families that this country has ever seen. I highly recommend it and I am looking forward to the next chapter tomorrow night.