The Martha Mitchell Effect Documentary Review

In every era, there are heroes that are recognized for their bravery. Then there are other heroes who are only acknowledged for their contributions long after that time has passed.

Martha Mitchell is one of those heroes who, unfortunately, is only starting to be seen and respected. The new Netflix documentary, The Martha Mitchell Effect, dropped recently on the streaming channel. In the early 1970s, she was married to John Mitchell, who was then the Attorney General for Richard Nixon. Not exactly known for being the meek and silent type, Martha was quick to blab to the press about her husband’s legally and morally dubious work. Silenced by both Nixon and her husband, she was made to believe that she was crazy.

I wish I had learned about her earlier. When we talk about second-wave feminism icons, Martha Mitchell is a name who rarely comes up. After watching this movie, I felt like she should be given a second look by modern feminists and historians. She dared to take on a corrupt administration and tell the truth when many stayed silent.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Martha Mitchell Effect is available for streaming on Netflix.

My Takeaway From Last Night’s January 6th Commission Hearing

History does not happen in a vacuum. There are events that inform the present and guide us to hopefully learn from the mistakes made in the past.

Last night, more than twenty million Americans watched the first public hearings of the January 6th commission. For two hours, viewers were presented with evidence and interviews in regards to the riot that nearly broke our democracy more than a year and a half ago.

As I see it, the information is damming. There are also four important elements that both the mainstream media and the voting public must face head-on:

  1. The former President is an egotistical, two-faced, lying, con artist who cannot understand the concept of the word no. He is not above throwing his own daughter under the bus or potentially sacrificing former VP Mike Pence to the wolves.
  2. Any politician or government bureaucrat who has supported you know who in the service of their own career must either be voted out and/or revealed for the traitors that they are. A two-party system only works if both sides can work together, even when they don’t always agree.
  3. The right-wing media’s lies must also be revealed for the hypocritical bullshit that it is. In a move that surprised no one, the hearing was not broadcast on Fox News and other media companies of their ilk.
  4. Anyone who was involved that day must be brought to justice. If they are not, that sends a message that what happened is acceptable and normal.

Fifty years ago, Watergate changed the politics of this nation. Looking back after half a century, we can now see the damage that the scandal caused. My fear is that if we do not face this problem head-on, we will look back in another fifty years and ask why we did not do something when we had the opportunity.

We have one shot to correct this wrong. The question is, do we have the nerve to do so or will the American experiment that is our democracy die in a haze of violence, hatred, and choosing power over the needs of the people?

Gaslit Review

The definition of gaslighting is as follows:

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which the abuser attempts to sow self-doubt and confusion in their victim’s mind.

The new Starz series, Gaslit, premiered last Sunday. Set in the 1970s, it follows the events of the Watergate scandal. Martha Mitchell (Julia Roberts) is the outspoken wife of John Mitchell (Sean Penn), who was then the Attorney General under the late President Richard Nixon. Together with John Dean (Dan Stevens), their goal is to ensure that the President is re-elected, even if it means using less than honorable or legal means.

Martha becomes an unlikely hero for democracy as she realizes that her husband is in on the scheme and does everything she can (in her own way of course), to save the nation and her man.

What I am enjoying so far is that the spotlight is not on the usual suspects (i.e men), but on the women whose heroic acts are either ignored or downsized. I also like that Martha is unwilling to stay silent in the face of truth, even if it means opening the door to trouble. The acting is fantastic, the storytelling (so far at least) is easily watchable, and the politics is a reminder that even though it’s been 50-ish years, nothing has changed.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Gaslit airs on Starz on Sunday night at 8PM.

Flashback Friday: Frost/Nixon (2008)

In a democracy, an interview between a reporter and a political figure is a normal event.

The 2008 film, Frost/Nixon, written by Peter Morgan (The Crown), is based on the play of the same name. In 1977, the late American President Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) sat down to a televised interview with British television host David Frost (Michael Sheen). It has been three years since the Watergate scandal and his ouster from the highest political office in the land. Over that period, he has not spoken publicly about his misconduct and its aftermath.

Up until that point, Frost’s reputation is not exactly that of a journalistic heavy hitter. Nixon hopes to use that reputation to revive his public perception and earn a hefty check in the process. For his part, Frost has to overcome the doubts that his team has in his ability to succeed. What neither knows is the game that the other will play and how challenging it will be.

This movie is fantastic. The acting is top notch and the story immediately pulls the audience in. Langella almost disappears into the character of Nixon. Though the makeup and prothesis helps, it is the actor who does the heavy lifting. For his part, Sheen as Frost, has the more difficult job. He has to prove that his character has the chops to take on one of the most infamous men in American history.

If there is one takeaway from this movie, it is that politics never changes. Though the narrative takes place nearly fifty years ago, it is a relevant today as it was then.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Frost/Nixon is available for streaming on Peacock.

Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House Book Review

Anyone with a basic knowledge of American political history knows something of Watergate. It is one of the few events that is known by a singular name.

But Richard Nixon was not the only one doing the country dirty while in office. His Vice President, Spiro Agnew was also taking advantage of his position and his power. Angew’s rise and fall is chronicled in the new book, Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House. Written by MSNBC headliner Rachel Maddow and TV Producer Michael Yarvitz, it was published last December.

The book tells the story of how the Vice President was able to execute a bribery and extortion ring before and during his time in the White House. When it became obvious that Nixon’s time as President was growing short, three young lawyers took it upon themselves to stop Agnew before he could ascend to the Oval Office.

Based on the podcast of the same name, this book is brilliant. It was both a throwback to the past and a light shining on our current political situation. I knew about Watergate, but I had no idea that Agnew had his own political baggage. It reads like a fictional thriller, even though the events that take place are certainly non-fiction.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Is Donald Trump This Generation’s Richard Nixon?

I was a few years away from entering the world when Richard Nixon was in the The White House.

My guess is that some those who watched as Watergate unfolded and Richard Nixon was booted from The Oval Office, did not think they would ever see honorable seat of the President Of The United States disgraced again.

Enter Donald Trump and Randy Rainbow’s latest video.

Thank you, Randy. You have made this man’s awful tenure in The White House just a little easier to deal with.

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