The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

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Happy Friday Widdershins!

If you are reading this then good news: a nuclear was hasn’t started yet! But it is early, so we’ll see how things play out.

This morning I won’t bore you with my thoughts on Dump and whatever the latest shitnado he has unleashed on the world. There is so much happening and it’s happening so quickly that sometimes the brain feels like it will short circuit. So we will stay current on the news in the comments section, as always. If Dump launches a nuke at North Korea or California, please post here ASAP!

Instead I will tell you about a nearly forgotten artist. I listen to classical music almost exclusively and I have not heard of Maryla Jonas until just a week ago when Sony released a remastered box set of Jonas’ complete recordings made for Columbia in the 1940s and 50s. Granted, her recorded legacy was not big, only a bit over 3 hours of music. But it’s amazing how an such an important artist of her day could be so nearly forgotten, even though at the time famed critics like Virgil Thompson and Edward Downes counted her among the greats.

Maryla Jonas was born on May 31, 1911 in Warsaw, Poland. She became something of a child prodigy at the piano and though her father had serious misgivings about his daughter having a successful career as a musician, she did make her concert debut at the age of 9. At the age of 11 she was accepted to study at the Warsaw Conservatory. Over the years she studied with the famous pianist and composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski.

‘When I was no more than seventeen. I played a Ballade of Chopin for [Paderewski], and he said, very calmly and quietly, more pedal here—less pedal there—there, more tone—there, more speed. Such things. Also, he took my music and marked everything down in red pencil. Good! I went home and studied hard everything he had said. Like a parrot.

‘Then I went for a concert to Denmark. I played this Ballade, exactly as Paderewski had said. Well, a friend of his who was there, said it was no good! He told Paderewski I had played it no good. So the next time I came to Paderewski, he asked me what I did to play so badly, and told me to sit down and play the Ballade for him. I did, exactly as he had said. And this time he too said it was no good! I said he himself had told me all this, and he said, ‘No, that was impossible!’ I showed him his own red writing on the music, and again he said, ‘No!’ At that time, I was heartbroken. But today, I see exactly what Paderewski meant! He meant that the first time, he was in a mood to want the Ballade one way, and the next time, not. That is all. But it showed me that teaching can never be a matter of do-this or do-that’. (“The Etude”, February 1947, interviewed by Rose Heylbut).

When she was eighteen , Miss Jonas says an incident happened in her life which, more than anything else, influenced her subsequent career. ‘I had finished playing a whole program for Paderewski and he took me to the window and pointing, he said: “You see that street over there? You see how it winds down into that alley? It looks sordid, doesn’t it. Well, there is life. Go out and find out for yourself. Live an experience and come back to me in a year. You’ll be a better pianist”.

Throughout the 20s and 30s she toured across Europe, including recitals at the Salzburg Festival and Bayreuth. She married a famous Polish criminologist. And then Germany invaded Poland. Her husband and three brothers joined the underground resistance. Her sister, who had married a Viennese Jew, fled to Brazil. Jonas and her parents’ home was requisitioned by the Germans, so they spent months moving from shelter to shelter. They were eventually arrested and after an interrogation by the Gestapo Jonas was offered to be sent to Berlin if she would join the Nazi party and become an official Nazi artist. Jonas refused. She and her parents were sent to a concentration camp.

After several months in camps, a German officer recognized Jonas as a pianist he had heard perform before the war. He arranged to have her released from the camp and advised that she go to Berlin and appeal to the Brazilian embassy for safety. Jonas walked from Warsaw to Berlin: about 321 miles. She slept in barnes and under the moon, eating only scraps that she could find. Finally in Berlin the Brazilian embassy arranged to smuggle her out of the country on false papers, pretending to be the wife the ambassador’s son.

Jonas joined her sister in Rio, but her health had very seriously deteriorated from the long and arduous journey from Warsaw to Berlin. She then received news that her parents, her husband and one of her brothers had been killed in Poland and she suffered a nervous breakdown. She spent several months in various sanatoriums in Brazil. She decided that she would never play the piano again, but at the encouragement of her sister and a chance visit to Rio in 1940 by one of the most famous pianists in the world, Artur Rubinstein, changed her mind.

He had known Maryla in Warsaw, and called on her. He urged her eloquently to resume playing. He told her she was now a representative of Poland. It was her duty, he said, to keep reminding the world that her country had stood for something, and to work and earn money to help rescue other Poles from their Nazi-dominated homeland. She agreed with every word. But she could not play.

Rubinstein was rehearsing for several recitals he was to give in Rio and asked Jonas to come to the theater to offer him advise. At the theater he said he wasn’t sure what the img041_a_200dpi.jpgacoustics of the hall were like, so he asked Jonas to play while he walked to the back of the auditorium to sound-check. Jonas obliged… and found herself musically reborn. She decided to start playing again and within few months was giving recitals across South America. In 1946 she came to the United States and on February 25 gave a recital at Carnegie Hall. That seems to have been a very lightly attended show (someone joked the ushers outnumbered the audience), but a glowing review from the highly regarded Jerome D. Bohm of Herald Tribune: “the finest woman pianist since Teresa Carreno” he wrote. He continued that on her next appearance Jonas “will be greeted not by a handful of listeners . . . but by the sold-out house which such artistry as hers deserves.” Five weeks later her second Carnegie Hall recital was sold out. Olin Downes of the New York Times wrote that “The shimmer of the harmonies, the haunting song that they half revealed and half concealed, was something to remember.” Soon Jonas was engaged to play a Beethoven concerto with the New York Philharmonic. Sold out concerts and glowing reviews, and a record deal with Columbia followed. Jonas also married a surgeon.

During a Carnegie Hall recital on January 27, 1951 she got sick.

Persons familiar with the Schumann work [Carnaval] sensed that something was wrong when some passages were skipped. They were puzzled when the pianist got up after a gentle number about two thirds of the way through. She walked unsteadily to the left side of the stage and just beyond the edge of the dusty-rose curtain she fell.

… Miss Jonas had not been feeling well all week, according to her representative, so her physician, Dr. Franz Groezel, and her husband, Dr. Ernest Abraham, both were in the auditorium. They went back-stage to attend her and ten minutes later John Totten, manager of the hall, emerged from the stage door to say she would continue the program.

The pianist returned to the stage looking white and shaky, but once she was seated she seemed all right. She played the Nocturne, the Waltz, the Berceuse and two of the four Mazurkas she had scheduled. She also managed two encores, though the last one was given with the house lights on as a hint to the audience not to expect a third.

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In 1952 Jonas was stricken with a rare blood disease and put her concert career on hold. She was bedridden for two years. She returned to Carnegie Hall on December 1, 1956. It seems that physically she was no longer able to play well. Edward Downes of the New York Times wrote:

The Andante cantabile of the middle movement was an achievement of rare artistry. But toward the end of the sonata Miss Jonas began to sound nervous. As the Mozart group progressed there were moments of exquisite lyricism, but they became rarer as one sensed that Miss Jonas’ strength was ebbing under physical and nervous strain.

[…]

Friends who inquired backstage after the program were told that a physician was attending Miss Jonas. Later it was announced that she was not ill but suffered only severe nervous tension.

This was Maryla Jones’ last concert. She died on July 3, 1959. (Her husband, Dr. Ernest Abraham, was an amateur cellist and encouraged his wife’s career. He died a few weeks after her.)

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You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone, and we are all part of the same compost pile.

So wrote Chuck Palahniuk in his 1996 novel “Fight Club,” later adapted into a popular film by David Fincher starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham-Carter. Palahniuk proudly claimed that he coined the phrase “snowflake” to describe libtards, but – alas – Palahniuk is not a beautiful and unique snowflake, and his claims that he invented the insult are alternative facts. It’s a little hard to figure out Palahniuk’s politics. He has a  bit of a Milo Snuffleupagus vibe going. He likes to yell, shock and act like a jerk.  Palahniuk, who is gay, also approved the use of “snowflake” to describe liberals. And yet, the characters of “Fight Club” who resemble what one day would become the alt-right (angry, violent white men who wreak havoc upon the world and commit acts of terrorism) aren’t heroes. And it’s main character is literally a schizophrenic with multiple personalities.

In any case, whatever Palahniuk’s personal feelings on liberals and snowflakes, the term is very old. It has been traced as far back as 1860s to describe white people who opposed abolition of slavery. The alt-right’s embrace of it – and liberals’ attempts to claim it as ironic – has been an interesting fight over words. Who thought that the age of Trump would usher in a war over language.

And who would have thought that Shakespeare would be reestablished as politically relevant 400 years after his death. “Julius Caesar,” written in 1599, humanizes a despot, showing that assassinations of leaders – even the bad ones – is a terrible idea. Portraying Caesar as a contemporary is hardly a new tradition. They did it in 1930s’s Germany, and more recently on our own shores Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all been portrayed as Caesar. But it’s the Trump version in NYC’s Central Park that has incensed Trumpkins. Multiple performances have now been interrupted by the alt-right and I suspect this will continue for the duration of the production’s run.

How triggered Trumpkins are by a 400 year old play. They accuse the liberal elitists who read Shakespeare of inciting violence by showing Caesar being assassinated. And then they accuse the same liberal elitists of being snowflakes. It’s a little difficult to square the two off. I don’t know what to wear to be a snowflake terrorist!

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

Leon Trotsky

(This quote is frequently attributed to Bertolt Brecht, but actually appears to be by Trotsky!)

Art has been making people angry for as long as people have been creating art. The Pussy Riotpower of art to heighten emotions – every emotion imaginable – is unparalleled. And its ability to inspire social change is undisputed. Pierre Beaumarchais‘ Figaro trilogy was banned in France and Austria in the decade before the French Revolution. Dmitri Shostakovich‘s opera “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District” nearly got him executed, and he was on the brink of arrest by Stalin almost his entire life. The Nazis murdered more artists than one can count and created entire categories of degenerate art, which included everything from the film “Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” to the music of Kurt Weill. We have seen the Fearless Girl on Wall Street – bravely facing off the charging bull – attacked and disfigured. What are they afraid of? (One line of attack on the Fearless Girl, created by Kristen Virbal, is that it was commissioned by an investment management firm, which makes it not art. These people are ironically unaware of quite literally the entire history of art…) In our own times perhaps no act of political art has been more feared than the Russian female punk band Pussy Riot. Arrested, imprisoned, beaten by Putin and his followers: yet they persist. Perhaps in America political artists are fortunate to not be targets of government-led violence. It is imperative that we never allow it to happen.

Warning: this video by Pussy Riot is graphic.

Happy Sunday Widdershins!

Another week, more madness from around the world. The terrible attacks in London are just beyond words. I won’t even try…

So, while it may seem counter-intuitive – let us try to take a few moments to forget our troubles. And try to laugh. What makes you laugh? Is there a joke? A song? A scene from a movie? Sometimes laughter isn’t even about “I’m rolling on the floor, my belly aches from laughing.” It could just be something so bananas – that it makes you laugh. That’s what my first selection is. It’s the Act 1 finale from Rossini’s opera “L’Italiana in Algeri.” It’s 10 minutes of frolicking bananas composing, wordplay and singing. This concert performance is from the Metropolitan Opera’s Centennial Anniversary Gala. How can one not stare in awe and laugh… (Also, some of the other selections are a bit risqué…proceed with caution.)

This is an open thread!

 

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It seems that every week I say something about how difficult it is to keep up with the news. And gosh darn it, I’m gonna do it again. I wrote a post on Sunday that by Monday afternoon was no longer entirely relevant. So here I am re-writing it on Tuesday night. It may or may not be up to date on Wednesday morning.

The big news development of the last 48 hours has been the very very rapid downfall of Conservative hero Milo Yiannopoulos. Why does anyone care about this degenerate and why are we taking pleasure in his unraveling? Though he was an active asshole before, Milo became famous in 2014 as a result of GamerGate. For those who may not know this travesty, here’s a brief synopsis: Several prominent female video game developers becamemilo the target of harassment and death threats on the internet, especially Twitter, because they were accused of colluding (having sex with) journalists for flattering coverage. Yiannopoulos published articles about it for Breitbart and led many attacks on the women. And so his right-wing, misogynistic public persona was born. He became a hero of the right, he hated political correctness, and his attacks on women, Jews, African-Americans, immigrants, transgender people, etc., made him a Conservative super star. His college campus tours brought out protestors, which fed his fame among Conservatives/neo-Nazis/white supremacists. It was a curious thing because Yiannopoulos is gay (and British. He also fetishizes black men. He only has sex with black men, which he insists is what makes him not racist. He doesn’t realize it actually is one of the most racist things about him.)

Earlier this year his fame extended after he led on-line attacks on actress Leslie Jones, SNL cast member and one of the stars of the “Ghostbusters” reboot. Yiannopoulos led racist Twitter leslie-jones-87255f4e-af77-4da8-9ec3-bfa8abb1a20cassaults on Jones. Around the same time these people published private photos stolen from Jones’ phone. (If you think you can stomach it, see some of the racist Twitter attacks here. The overwhelming assaults briefly led Jones to leave her social media accounts. Protests against Yiannopoulos finally led Twitter to ban him. (But he did get a $250,000 book deal with Simon and Schuster.) These things made him a hero of the Right/Conservatives who claimed he – and the Conservative point of view – were being censored by the corrupt Libtard media. Ultimately Milo’s behavior – and the keynote address speaking slot he was given at CPAC this year – have revealed that modern day Conservatism is morally and intellectually bankrupt. The young leaders of Conservatism, like Yiannopoulos and bobble-head Tomi Lahren, are proudly anti-intellectual. The days of someone like Bill Kristol – a man you may disagree with, but you can’t argue he’s probably read a book or two in his life – are long gone for Conservatives. They exist solely to offend. Even many Conservatives recognize it.

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On Friday night Yiannopoulos (wearing a pearl necklace) appeared on Bill Maher’s Real Time. Maher has been consistent on his support of free speech – and he has hosted many deplorable guests over the years. But his interview with Milo was the equivalent of Jimmy Fallon tossling Trump’s hair on the maher-miloTonight Show. An embarrassingly soft fluff piece, in both its official on-air interview and on the internet only Overtime segment. And Maher’s attacks on liberals who protest Milo are preposterous. I actually think over time Maher might become radicalized to the far Right. There is a very thin line between Far Right and Far Left. Maher’s long-standing Islamophobia and support for people like Yiannopoulis, could turn him into a Right-wing crusader.

But, back to the degenerate Yiannopoulos. He was still riding high through the weekend after his triumphant appearance on Real Time, when on Sunday an anonymous Republican Twitter group, Reagan Battalion, published previously public but unknown interviews with Yiannopoulos, in which he waxed rhapsodic about sex with 13 year old boys. And all hell broke loose. Though the Breitbart crowd fiercely defended him (including Michael Flynn Jr.), slowly establishment Republicans turned on him. Pressure was put on CPAC to cancel his appearance. It took over 24 hours for CPAC to withdraw their invitation. Simon and Schuster cancelled his book. And word came out that Breitbart employees revolted, demanding that he be fired. Eventually Yiannopoulos resigned from Breitbart (where he was an editor) before they could fire him. In his sorry/not-sorry resignation, he said he was sorry for his choice of words but really, everybody knows sex with 13 year olds is good and everyone is overreacting and blah blah blah. Where this horrible human being goes from here is anyone’s guess. Pundit on Fox? I have no doubt he will be back.

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Ok Widdershins, the day approacheth and I can hardly handle it. I think on Friday I’m just going off-line. The only place I’m going to visit is Widdershins, so you’ll have to keep me updated on The Event. But please do it through rose-colored glasses.

Until then, I think we should concentrate on nothing but cat videos and funny memes. At least that is all I can manage right now. And possibly for the next 4 years. Or forever. I don’t know.

Before all the funny stuff let me just reiterate how disappointed I am in the reaction of national Democrats to the whole kerfuffle. They’re MIA. They got nothing to say to the majority of the voters who voted for HRC and watch in horror as Drumpf and his entire Clown Ark roll into DC where they are going to demolish…well, everything. Just everything. Putin’s Puppet is declaring he doesn’t give a shit about Europe or NATO. China is getting ready for a confrontation. ACA/Obamacare is coming to an end. I think ISIS is going to be the least of all of our problems. But, I don’t meant to be so negative! So without further ado, these are some of the funnier things I’ve seen over the last week on the cyber.

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The wisdom of Madonna:

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And for you, my friends:

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This is an open thread. What has the Tiny Handed Yam tweeted today?

white-houseA few of random thoughts for the week, my fellow Widdershins.

This weekend I attended a friend’s wedding in Washington DC. My friend, Mike, served for 5 years in the Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and worked his way to Captain before leaving service. He came out of the closet to his friends in the army shortly before leaving and before DADT was repealed.  (His husband used to work in a publicity firm in DC that serves politicians. Because everybody needs good PR.) They took Trump’s election very personally, especially as a gay couple. But it was encouraging to have the military chaplain, who presided over the ceremony, acknowledge how difficult life for gay men and women is in the military and how much he hopes things get better.

I was seated at the table with some of my friend’s former military brothers and sisters, all straight. My direct neighbor was one very Southern redneck from Texas.  I, the East coast elite, looked at him with suspicion at first. But as he cheered the grooms’ first dance I was reminded of a story another friend once told me about Spike Lee. That friend was a manager of a movie theater in Harlem and they held premieres of several Spike Lee movies. At one premiere a fight broke out in the audience. Lee came up to my friend afterwards and apologized for the fight, though he had nothing to do with it. My friend responded: “Oh it’s fine, we were expecting it so we were prepared.” Lee responded: “You shouldn’t have expected it and it shouldn’t have happened. I’m sorry it happened.” Lessons learned about assumptions, so I shouldn’t have made any about this large Southern military man and what he thinks about gay people and their marriages.

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Speaking of gay, Madonna was just named Billboard Magazine’s woman of the year. I love Madonna, not just in that back-handed “Well she’s proved her mettle for 30 years and she’s got a few big hits” sort of way. I genuinely love her music, she’s written some of the most infectious and important pop songs of the last 30 years.  She’s charted more No. 1 hits than any other artist in Billboard’s history. Her tours have earned $1.3 billion, the most of any female artist.  So it’s not just shock values, she has proven her musical chops for 30 years.  I also admire her determination. This is one woman who refused to bake cookies.  One may not like her music or respect her approach to fame, but it’s hard to argue she’s more famous than Jesus’s mother at this point.  That’s quite the feat.  She’s paved the way for many women in the entertainment industry. Now, as a 58 year old, she’s still pushing boundaries. About a year ago she posted a photo to Instragram with hairy armpits. Internet broke. People were very upset. Mind you, she caused controversy with hairy armpits in the 1980’s too and maybe the fact that people were still angry about it is why it was important for her post the photo. The Billboard interview that accompanies the Woman of the Year headline, by the actress Elizabeth Banks, touches on a few interesting topics. Madonna hosted a rally for Hillary Clinton in Washington Square Park in NYC the night before the election. She says since the election she’s felt like “someone died.” And she was disappointed by how many women voted for Trump.

Women’s nature is not to support other women. It’s really sad. Men protect each other, and women protect their men and children. Women turn inward and men are more external. A lot of it has do with jealousy and some sort of tribal inability to accept that one of their kind could lead a nation. Other people just didn’t bother to vote because they didn’t like either candidate, or they didn’t think Trump had a chance in the world. They took their hands off the wheel and then the car crashed.

Madonna is also asked about ageism in the entertainment industry and America. One thing people constantly tell Madonna now is she should stop flaunting her boobs or hairy armpits because she’s an old woman. One way to dismiss her is to call her “irrelevant.” Nobody says that about Mick Jagger. And they were telling Madonna to not flaunt her boobs when she was in her 20’s too.

Age is only brought up with regard to women. It’s connected to sexism, chauvinism and misogyny. When Leonardo [DiCaprio] is 60 years old, no one is going to talk about his relevance. Am I relevant as a female in this society that hates women? Well, to people who are educated and are not chauvinists or misogynists, yes.

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lincoln-memorialAnd speaking of Washington DC, above is a photo we took at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday.

And one of the places we visited was the Holocaust Museum. The subject of the Holocaust is one I’ve read about a fair amount in the past. Nazi atrocities have always fascinated me so I’ve done a fair amount of reading on the subject because I keep trying to understand how ordinary people could such awful things. I highly recommend Richard Rhodes’ “Masters of Death,” for example, about the Einsatzgruppen, an elite group of SS soldiers who followed the German army into Eastern Europe and exterminated, virtually by hand, about 1.5 million people as the German Army advanced into the Soviet Union in 1941.  It was the first step of Hitler’s Final Solution. So the images and the stories at the museum are something I have been reading about and studying for some time. But having everything assembled in one place and in such a thorough fashion is very heavy. Two places at the exhibit were particularly haunting. At the end of the Final Solution section the hundreds of shoes in a pile are hair-raising. But the most emotional moment, unexpectedly so, was walking through a train car used to deport Jews to Dachau. You walk in, you stop for a moment inside – and it just takes your breath away. You can hear the voices still echoing inside the walls.

In the first part of the exhibit, about Hitler’s rise to power, it’s really difficult to not see the ascendancy of Trump and its parallels to Hitler. I know, you’re not supposed to compare people to Hitler. But sometimes you can and you should. Hitler rose in power in part because nobody believed he would do any of the horrible things he said he would do. His ideas and philosophies were not new to anyone. He articulated them in his book and he spoke about them at length as he rose to power, before he was appointed to be the Chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg. Hitler challenged Hindenburg for Presidency in 1932. The vote was close and they had to have a run-off, one week of campaigning. Hindenburg delivered one radio address. Hitler rented a plane from Lufthansa and spent the week flying around Germany, holding rallies in 22 cities in one week. The public was electrified, he made headlines of every newspaper. Hindenburg, a very well-known figure, won the run-off. But Hitler, the master rally-holder, became a big enough thorn in Hindenburg’s side that he appointed Hitler to be Chancellor of Germany. Hindenburg’s allies convinced the aging President that Hitler could be controlled from the inside and that appointing him would be harmless. We know the rest.

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As Germany’s Left shattered because nobody could agree on a common adversary, and a certain wing of the Left didn’t think everyone else was pure enough to support – Hitler, who promised the frustrated Germans that he would make Germany relevant again – quickly consolidated his power. He then did exactly what he said he would do. In one documentary shown at the museum, a female reporter returning from Germany held a press-conference on a boat. (Sadly I did not jot down her name and have not been successful at locating this press-conference online. I couldn’t even narrow down the name of the reporter.) But she said explicitly that she observed that the Nazis had started doing in Germany exactly what they all along said they were going to do, so maybe America and the world should start taking them seriously.

I’m not saying Trump is Hitler. I’m just saying…

One thing I really liked in the exhibit is that the final section is dedicated to many individuals who fought against the Nazis and helped Jews during the Holocaust.  There are many names and photographs, and brief summaries of how they helped.  None of them are as famous as Oscar Schindler.  But how amazing that someone remembers their individual stories, ordinary men and women of different ages, backgrounds, professions and religions, who risked their own lives to save others.

I kept checking for their death dates and was glad to see that many of them did survive the war and lived long lives.  Though not all.

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Hans and Sophie Scholl with Christoph Probst in summer 1942

A few college students formed a small group The White Rose. Consisting of students from University of Munich that included siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, Willi Graf, Christoph Probst,  Alex Schmorell, another Scholl sibling Inge and a philosophy professor Kurt Huber.  The students were in their early 20’s.  Between June 1942 and February 1943 they distributed leaflets denouncing the Nazis and their mass murders of Jews, some of which the members of The White Rose hand witnessed first-hand at home and at the front.  Soon they were all arrested and executed.  Hans Scholl’s final words were: “Long live Freedom!”

Prior to their deaths, several members of the White Rose believed that their execution would stir university students and other anti-war citizens into a rallying activism against Hitler and the war. Accounts suggest, however, that university students continued their studies as usual, citizens mentioned nothing, many regarding the movement as anti-national. Their actions were mostly dismissed, until after the war when their efforts were eventually praised by the German consciousness.

 

 

What’s on your mind folks? This is an open thread.

 

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Let’s face it, it’s not as if The Media has ever really been entirely a responsible being. Yellow Journalism has always existed and often some of it has been controlled by the rotten likes of William Randolph Hearst. But today’s public trust of The Media (“Lamestream!” and otherwise) is down to 32%. This is down from its highest rating of 72% in 1976. Frankly, I’m surprised the current number is as high as 32%. We have watched The Media descend into a bloody feeding frenzy of click-bait headlines (BREAKING: AP analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation) and ratings-grabbing reality TV style programming. Everything on CNN is BREAKING NEWS! All the time!!!!!! Even when all they’re showing is a bear that broke into some lady’s fridge and ate all her fish or a Trump rally without any editing or commentary. BREAKING NEWS! I suppose it’s possible that at any moment the bear will start singing “Hallelujah!” and Trump will say something reasonable, which would indeed be Breaking News!  Alas, the headlines often turn out to be false (no, half of those Clinton met did not give money to Clinton Foundation) and the coverage lacking in integrity (Trump never did say anything reasonable), and all we have is a broken news media to show for it.

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While HRC’s relationship with the media is known to be controversial, it’s Trump’s relationship with the media that they should have been worried about. They allowed themselves get locked up in pens at Trump’s rallies, listened to Trump taunt them from the stage, especially female reporters (NBC’s Katy Tur received multiple public shellackings and at one point needed Secret Service to escort her to her car from a rally because she no longer felt safe from Trump’s supporters,) got physically assaulted at Trump rallies and heard Trump’s constant threats that he will sue one media outlet or another for coverage he doesn’t like by expanding libel laws. But all they worried about were Hillary Clinton’s press conferences. This was big big news for weeks, yuuuge news.  Even though Clinton always travelled with the full press pool and spoke to them daily and gave individual interviews, they were really worried about press conferences.  It was Breaking News for weeks! Well, fast forward and Trump hasn’t held a press conference since July. And he dodges the press pool altogether as President-Elect (vomit) when he wants to because, well, why wouldn’t he! The Media is annoyed now. Maybe Trump doesn’t like them as much as they thought? SAD!

Trump’s two years worth of attacks on the press and their integrity should have given them a clue that perhaps Trump was not their friend. But they only seem to have gotten a clue when the President-Elect (barf) invited them to an off-the-record meeting at Isengard Trump Tower. The brightest stars of TV news came out. George Stephanopoulos and Wolf Blitzer were there, and there’s David Muir and Charlie Rose! And look, it’s Chuck Todd and Lester Holt! And head of CNN Jeff Zucker, the man who was head of NBC when Trump started firing people for ratings. They ran to this thing like it was an orgy.  And then it turned into an execution. “It was like a fucking firing squad!” was how one person inside characterized it.  (There’s shooting at both orgies and executions, so I can see how everybody got their signals mixed.)

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Does my suit match the gold decor?

Trump apparently said: “’We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong,’” This is all allegedly because the meeting was off-the-record. So The Media isn’t commenting. But you can bet your pattootie Trump’s people were the ones who leaked this to the NY Post within minutes. The headlines from Breitbart and Drudge were appropriately gleeful. “Baghdad Kellyanne” Conway, everybody’s favorite contrarian, argued things weren’t as intense as all that. “… no he did not explode in anger. He’s the president-elect. He won … winning solves a lot of problems. Winning makes a lot of statements.” (Yes, yes it does Baghdad Kellyanne. Lots of statements have been made, though I wonder what Baghdad Kellyanne thinks the statements are when HRC is winning the popular vote by 2,000,000 and counting. What statement does that make Baghdad Kellyanne? Kellyanne? Bueller?)

conway-lewandowski

Just 3 best buds hanging out, nothing to see here, ok bye!

I wonder what the hallowed names of TV news like Rose, Blitzer and Holt think when the President-Elect (vomit) of the United States calls them liars to their face when they’ve tried to use every word except “liar” when covering Drumpf’s lies.When Trump tells Zucker in person “I hate your network. Everyone at CNN is a liar, and you should be ashamed.” What does Zucker, who employed journalist-assaulting Corey Lewandowski as a commentator while Lewandowski remained on Trump’s payroll, what does Zucker think? (He doesn’t think anything of it, actually). Did Zucker know Lewandowski and Kellyanne Conway were still working together throughout the campaign? Conway tweeted a photo of herself, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks and Lewandowski, 4 days before the election with the tag: “Team Work.” Hmm…. Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey. What does Jeffrey think? I think we have two options. Either Zucker is an idiot or he knows exactly what is happening and is ok with it because CNN is making big boatloads of money off their Trump coverage. About a billion dollars worth. CBS head honcho Les Moonves said: “”It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS…The money’s rolling in and this is fun.”  I hope everybody is having as much fun as Zucker and Moonves!

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Donny Drumpf and CNN’s Jeff Zucker, just a coupla buds LOLing

So with our illustrious TV news anchors and executives executed neutered by the President-Elect (vomit) – what do we have left? I’d say we can expect nothing from the boob tube, it has truly been boobified beyond repair, Lamestream to infinity. I’m afraid print journalism is our only hope. The NY Times, so flawed in so many ways (it’s hard to like a newspaper that continued to employ Rita Skeeter Maureen Dowd… though they also still employ Paul Krugman.) Anyway, the Times also met with Drumpf, but they insisted that the meeting be on-the-record. Drumpf, still fresh off the TV Media massacre of 2016, attacked the “failing NY Times” on Twitter, cancelled the meeting, then re-scheduled it again. All in a matter of hours. Classic Trump! (Does anyone else think he’ll order the launch of a nuke, then change his mind? Will he change it quickly enough to cancel the nuke? Can a nuke be cancelled after it’s been launched? Stay tuned, it will be covered on Breaking News!) Then when Drumpf finally met with the failing NY Times, he said: “I just appreciate the meeting and I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It’s very special. Always has been very special.” He then called them “a jewel.” (Charles Blow was having none of it.  He refused to attend the meeting with Drumpf and then wrote in an op-ed: “You are a fraud and a charlatan. Yes, you will be president, but you will not get any breaks just because one branch of your forked tongue is silver.”  Anybody care to guess what Rita Skeeter Maureen Dowd thinks?) I wonder if the Times meeting being recorded had anything to do with Drumpf’s fawning tone vs. the off-the-record TV luminaries meeting where he told them all to just go ahead and die? All I know is Drumpf is already up to #7 of this handy “Despots and the Media” Guide. He’s already making his own videos, bypassing the media altogether. Kind of like those videos Osama bin Laden used to make. In the meantime I can’t wait for Trump’s next Tweet about the failing NY Times. It will be tremendous.

media

# 1 – 7:  Done

Christiane Amanpour, accepting the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award at the Committee To Protect Journalists ceremony, delivered a blistering speech directed at fellow journalists. She had a lot of great things to say about The Media, its failures in the 2016 election, and what it must do to redeem itself.

So I feel that right now we face an existential crisis. A real threat to the very relevance and usefulness of our profession. Now, more than ever, I genuinely believe that we need to recommit to real reporting across a real nation and a real world in which journalism and democracy are in mortal peril….

Never equate victim and aggressor. Never create a false moral or factual equivalence. Because then, if you do, particularly in situations like that, you are party and accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences.

So I believe in being truthful, not neutral. And I believe we must stop banalizing the truth. We have to be prepared to fight, especially hard, right now, for the truth, because this is a world where the Oxford English dictionary just last week announced its word for 2016, and that is, ‘post-truth’.

What’s on your mind Widdershins?  Do you love The Media as much as it loves you?  This is an open thread.


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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

HRC bumper sticker

She’s thinking “Less than 2 weeks I have to keep seeing that face”

Yeah I can make it

The team we’re on

Women’s March on Washington!

Right-click the pic for more info

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph