Throwback Thursday: The Beguiled (2017)

Love and jealousy often go hand in hand. The question is, how much will jealousy color a relationship and have a hand in destroying love?

The 2017 movie, The Beguiled, is based upon a book by Thomas Cullinan and a reboot of the original 1971 film. It takes place at an isolated girls school in Virginia during the Civil War. Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman) is the headmistress. One of the teachers who works under her is Edwina (Kirsten Dunst). When Corporal McBurney (Colin Farrell), a wounded Union soldier arrives at the doorstep, his presence upsets the delicate equilibrium that already exists within the building’s walls. With the women competing for his attention in and out of the bedroom, will they open their eyes about this stranger or fall prey to his charms?

I haven’t read the book or seen the 1971 adaptation, so I cannot speak to how good or bad they are. Overall, I liked this movie. The performances are fantastic, each actor is in their element in their particular role. The problem is that the sexual tension is not what is promised. Maybe it’s me, but I didn’t feel it as I expected to.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

The State of American Politics: The Democrats Messaging Problem and the Republicans Attack on Big Bird

When it comes down to it, politics is about two things: messages and action. One can say the right things, but without acting on what has been said, nothing gets done.

I am a lifelong Democrat. My first major election was the 2000 Presidential election in which George W. Bush ran against former Vice President Al Gore. For the last twenty-ish years, I have voted mostly along party lines. But that does not mean that I can’t or won’t speak when I feel the need. The problem with today’s Democratic Party is not the message. They just finally passed the Infrastructure Bill, for G-d sake. The problem is how the message is being presented. Instead of hearing that our young children will be educated, our seniors will be provided for, and our roads will be maintained, the only thing we are being told is the cost.

There were three recent elections that exemplified this issue. In my hometown of New York City, former police officer, and current Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams won handily against activist Curtis Sliwa in the Mayoral election. Truth be told, Adam’s win was not a complete given, but generally accepted that it was the obvious outcome. NYC is, for the most part, politically blue. It was not a surprise that Sliwa lost.

Across the river, current New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy won his Gubernatorial election against Jack Ciattarelli, but only by a narrow margin. Down south, the shock that Republican Glenn Youngkin was proclaimed the winner in the Virginia Gubernatorial election rippled across the nation. His opponent, Terry McAuliffe lost because instead of focusing on kitchen table issues, he spent his time on you know who. Youngkin won because he mostly repudiated the former President and spoke to the everyday problems that voters are dealing with.

While this is happening, the Republicans are making mountains of out molehills. With the announcement that children ages 5-11 are now eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, the powers that be reached out to the people at Sesame Street. Via Twitter, Big Bird is encouraging young children to get the shot.

Ted Cruz, in his usual unhelpful way, decided to attack this most beloved of characters. Instead of remembering the 760,000 Americans who have died from the virus, he is opening the door for even more of us to lose our lives. When will he get it through his extra thick skull that the only way to stay alive and return to normal is to be vaccinated?

There is no doubt that the American political scene is nothing short of a shit-show. Until we get our heads out of our asses and do what needs to be done, it will continue to be a shit show.

P.S. How is Paul Gosar still in Congress when he posted a video in which AOC is killed and the President is attacked? He doesn’t have to agree with her, but he crossed the line with the suggestion of violence.

Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County Book Review

History is often personal. But sometimes, it can be too personal.

Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County: A Family, a Virginia Town, a Civil Rights Battle, by Kristen Green is a very interesting view of American history. 

Born and raised in Prince Edward County, Virginia, Ms. Green attended an all white school as a child. The only African-Americans that she came across were the household help. It was only when she left her hometown to attend college and find a job did she come to know people of other races. A journalist by profession, Ms. Green began to dig into the history of her town.

She discovered that American history did not extend farther than her own family.

In the wake of Brown Vs. Board Of Education (1954), the elders of Prince Edward County rebelled against the ruling in the best way that they knew how. All public schools were closed. White children whose parents made enough money were lucky enough to attend the private school established specifically to keep black children out. Black children and white children whose parents were on the lower end of the economic scale were forced to find other educational avenues for their children.  In her research, Ms. Green came to discover that her grandfather was one of the men responsible for the establishment of the all white school.

I found this book to be riveting. Ms. Green mixes known history with interviews from people who lived through the era (including members of her own family) as well as clips from newspapers and official documents. In the end, Ms. Green makes peace with the past, but she also speaks of the potential that was lost when the public schools were closed. It is a lesson to be well learned.

I highly recommend it.

 

 

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