The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Nothing But the Truth

A female newspaper reporter (Kate Beckinsale) outs a CIA agent and is prosecuted (by Matt Dillon) for refusing to reveal her source in this fascinating account of how a fictional President like George Bush can use the judicial system to punish those who speak truth to power. Beckinsale is a revelation (her impeccable acting makes this film work) and Matt Dillon’s new persona (after Crash) is a perfect counterpoint to Beckinsale’s principled stand. What most Americans don’t yet know is that Karl Rove had hundreds of lower level Democrats prosecuted (and, in some cases, imprisoned) in a effort to secure a permanent Republican majority. Hundreds. Their stories are just now coming out. In such an environment, where we are now beginning to hear these stories, this is a timely, well written, well acted film.

January 23, 2009   Comments Off on Nothing But the Truth

No Laughing Matter

This morning when I bought my latte at the local coffee shop, the barista (a lovely girl who dresses as a boy and proclaims she’s a transsexual) started talking about Scientology. I like her a lot and listened carefully. Then we talked about fundamentalist Christianity, but she was too young and urban to understand what I was trying to tell her.

When I grew up in a small southern Minnesota town, we laughed at the hellfire-and-brimstone preachers on the radio. Now it’s no longer a laughing matter. They have taken over most small-sized Minnesota cities. A friend whose husband teaches science in one of these towns is regularly shouted down in class when he implies that the earth is older than 6000 years. It’s not hard to see what has happened to education in these places and why. American flags fly from many of the homes, paranoid patriotism is the norm, and anyone who’s “liberal” and educated is shunned. Of course, America has a long tradition of this kind of small-mindedness, but it has now spread everywhere. Rove and Bush used these people, especially those in the press, as “brownshirts” whose job it was to intimidate the rest of us into silence. The frightening thing was that they almost succeeded.

December 10, 2008   Comments Off on No Laughing Matter