Monthly Archives: January 2020

1917 (2019)

In 2020, when all you have to do to make up a new insult is to attach “bro” to the end of any word, 1917 has a rather unusual message. “Young men are good.” Indeed, not only do Lance Corporal William Schofield and Lance Corporal Tom Blake manage to keep their humanity in the middle […]

Raymond Bonner is Decisively Vindicated

Back in the 1980s, when Elizabeth Warren was still a Republican and Reagan Administration officials were making AIDS jokes at press conferences, the United States government was fighting a dirty war against leftists in Central America. While the history of CIA death squads in Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador still profoundly affects American politics — […]

Ford v Ferrari

Ford v Ferrari is such a well-made, entertaining movie it made me do what I thought I’d never do, root for corporate America. More specifically, it made me root for the Ford Motor Company, a giant multinational corporation founded by a union-busting Nazi, against Ferrari, a posh Italian microbrand. It did so in two ways. […]

Getting Mad and Giving Money on the Internet

While it is still too early to determine whether or not Elizabeth Warren’s well-organized campaign to paint Bernie Sanders as a sexist has diminished his chances of winning the Democratic nomination for President, we can already be certain of one thing. It has significantly enhanced his brand. After watching their candidate repeatedly attacked at by […]

The Stranger (1946)

Early in The Stranger, perhaps the first mainstream American film about the Holocaust, Charles Rankin, a Connecticut prep school teacher played by Orson Welles, his fiancee Mary, her father, a Supreme Court Justice, her younger brother Noah, and Mr. Wilson, a federal government agent, are talking about the recent war with Germany. Rankin does not […]

Little Women (2019)

Last December when the marketing campaign for Little Women began — see it bros or you’re sexist — I tried to buy a ticket on Christmas Day, not so much to prove my “woke,” male feminist credentials, but simply because it was the least objectionable movie playing in the newly restored Cranford Theater down the […]

Dead Man Riding

In one of my favorite movies, El Cid by Anthony Mann, Charlton Heston plays Don Rodrigo DĂ­az de Vivar, better known to history as El Cid. Cid is not only the perfect embodiment of Christian Chivalry, he’s the ideal leader of what could have been a multicultural Spain where Muslims and Catholics lived together in […]

CNN from 1988 to 2020

In 1988, CNN was essentially campaigning for George H.W. Bush against Michael Dukakis. Dukakis was a mediocre, neoliberal centrist who believed the election was about “competence not ideology” and who used to talk about something called “the Massachusetts Miracle,” about turning Boston into Silicon Valley. But on the issue of the death penalty he was not […]

The Democratic Party Starts to Come Apart

Unlike the Republican Party, which is a rock solid alliance between big business and cultural conservatives, there is a deep contradiction at the heart of the Democratic Party. On one side, you have affluent, mostly older liberals, feminists, parts of Wall Street and the military industrial complex, the corporate media, the permanent bureaucracy in Washington, […]

War is Terrorism Terrorism is War

Even though I was only a few blocks away from the World Trade Center on 9/11, I learned about the attack the way almost everybody else in the United States did, through the media. Mainly I was worried about food. Let me explain. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I worked for a long […]