The climax of the New Left in American politics continues, built as much on faith as is the rise of the religious right among conservatives, bolstering the idea that a new dark age looms over Western civilization. For those inclined to think that’s hyperbole, if the success of Duck Dynasty and its supporters’ intimidation campaign to pressure a television network to rescind a suspension does not demonstrate wider cultural acceptance of archaic ideas, there’s today’s stark battle of words and ideas between gay celebrities, too. More on this later.
For now, consider the possible election of a New Left blank slate, merely the latest such candidate, as mayor of Chicago. His name is Jesus Garcia, though apparently he goes by the name Chuy (pronounced chewy), and he is the subject of a blistering report in the New York Times. The article by Julie Bosmanmarch begins:
When asked for his position on the pressing issues facing Chicago, Jesus G. Garcia, the man trying to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel, often has an answer — and sometimes more than one. When Mr. Garcia was recently asked what he would do about the red-light cameras that endlessly irk Chicagoans, he said that he would keep some of them. But almost two weeks ago, he had said he would get rid of them all. On the nearly 50 public schools that Mr. Emanuel closed during his first term, Mr. Garcia initially said that he would reopen some of them. Later, he said that he has “not committed” to such a move. As recently as January, Mr. Garcia said he opposed using public parkland for an Obama presidential library. Then this month, he reversed course, saying that he would support using parkland for a library.
So, in the wake of other New Left blank slate candidates in recent years, such as Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio—to the extent they were blank slates to obscure, distract or divert from their New Left political philosophy—how do Chicagoans respond to this elusive candidate who “presents himself as a warm, inclusive alternative” to Chicago’s incumbent mayor, himself a New Leftist, Rahm Emanuel, nicknamed “Rahmbo” for being an abrasive power-luster?
Judging by Garcia’s unexpected electoral success, pushing Emanuel into a runoff as a New Left Democrat who’s too pro-capitalist (!) for Chicago, and the Times piece, Chicagoans may be ready to swap a government-controlled economy for a government-controlled life. This is what they’re likely to get under Jesus Garcia, 58, a county commissioner, former alderman and Chicago community organizer like Obama. Garcia, who came to America as a child, admires Cesar Chavez and seeks to impose “social justice” with more government control imposed by more police officers, giving government-run schools “back to the people” which usually means less school choice, more school dictates and higher taxes. As the Times described the views of one voter, Rosa Alfaro: “[S]he is not sure how Mr. Garcia would fix the pension crisis, or pay for the new police officers he has promised to hire, or improve the struggling public schools. But she is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.”
In the words of one of his biggest backers, people have faith in Jesus Garcia: “They’ll trust him, they’ll believe in him.”
With faith—in the state (“public” schools, TSA, NSA, DWP, ObamaCare, etc.), in God, in the collective—rising above reason, and Mayor DeBlasio and President Obama among others as examples of radical New Left politicians taking enormous power over people’s lives in real, demonstrable terms, Jesus Garcia may become mayor of Chicago. Will Chicago’s people have faith in the blank slate Jesus Garcia? No one in Chicagoland should be surprised if and when people will.
Rational, secular and freedom-loving Americans should look to pop superstar Elton John for an example of what to do when others go by faith and announce an intention to impose their dogma on everyone. Gay fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, a former couple who created Dolce & Gabbana, told an Italian magazine that they oppose gay adoptions. In true Duck Dynasty/Islamic state/Iranian ayatollah fashion, the gay designers proclaimed:
The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”
Speaking as a religious fundamentalist, Dolce said that procreation “must be an act of love”, adding: “You are born to a mother and a father – or at least that’s how it should be…I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Uteri [for] rent, semen chosen from a catalog. The family is not a fad. In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging.”
When Elton John, who with his married partner has “synthetic” kids, promptly denounced them and called for a boycott of Dolce & Gabbana, pointing out that in vitro fertilization, which the Pope also condemns, adds value to the lives of heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, the designers affirmed their position and denounced Elton John as being close-minded, a favorite ploy of religionists, projecting their own bigotry to deflect from their irrationality.
This is the new faith, the new dogma, the new religion, same as the old. Watch for conservatives to rally around Dolce & Gabbana. Watch for leftists to rally against the designers, if not exactly around Elton John, a great artist with an independent, rational mind. The backlash against the New Left‘s incessant egalitarianism, pushing the transgendered as the same as gays, for instance, and other irrational ideas such as state-sponsored abortion and health care, is a stronger, more virulent strain of religious faith in fundamentalism. Besides the kneeling quarterback, Duck Dynasty patriarch, preacher, priest, pope, rabbi, mullah or ayatollah, add the gay fashion designer to those doubling down for a newer, darker age of faith, not reason.
It is fast approaching, it is happening and it is real. Watch it. Look to the rare, exceptional individual, such as Elton John, to act like a man, which is to say to act in his self-interest, defend his values—in this case, his family—and speak out against injustice with neither equivocation nor hesitation. He is the hero. He is the one who acts, who matters. He is the civilized man. He is the enlightened man: a man of both reason and action. This type of man is the avenger. Emulate this type of man if you want to live free.
Go ahead and feel free to boycott Dolce & Gabbana—also Duck Dynasty and absolutely reject and oppose dealings with religious dictatorships such as Iran—but above all stop putting others first and speak up for reason and justice. Start by naming the irrational when you see it, hear it and notice it going unnoticed, silently sanctioned, implying everyone’s consent. Don’t go quietly into the darkest times, places and chambers. Think, study, speak up, self-activate and don’t let up. Do it fast—or be damned to live under someone’s “supernatural sense of belonging”, whatever New Left or conservative religion or gang claims you as one of its own.
The Cinderella soundtrack is as lush, romantic and evocative as the film.
From the happy childhood theme for young Ella whose businessman father remarries following the death of her mother to the wicked stepmother music and the sweeping themes for the prince and his beloved, Patrick Doyle’s music is matched to what may be the year’s best picture.
As I wrote in the Cinderella movie review, Kenneth Branagh’s live-action Disney feature is a deeply emotional and thoughtful epic about an innocent child who becomes a woman, the man who falls in love with her at first sight, their losses, trials and injustice by those who betray the best within and what it properly means to be rescued. The music (available through Amazon; click on the soundtrack cover to buy) is only fast and urgent in “The Pumpkin Pursuit” and cues and pieces for other action scenes that play better here than on film. Favorites will depend upon which of the movie’s multiple layers of subplots, themes and pictures resonate, from the father-son moments, which are some of the best ever made in Hollywood, and mother-daughter scenes, to hard, painful scenes of the evil woman who comes to enslave the child. My personal favorites constitute triumphant picture music (“Ella and Kit”, “Valse Royale”, “A Secret Garden”) of the happy couple letting go of the past to embrace a new, self-made future. “You Shall Go” is also glorious, underscoring that the fairy godmother, a beggarwoman, is the antithesis of the hyperfeminine matriarch. “Who is She” brings the ball to the forefront of one’s memory. “The First Branch” tenderly calls upon the film’s parent-child love. “Courage and Kindness” does nicely by the theme of the whole man. A couple of pop songs are included, though, unfortunately, Disney chose not to include the film’s “Lavender Blue” song.
Mr. Branagh worked well with composer Patrick Doyle, whom I first discovered in 2003 with his wistful score for Tim McCanlies’ Secondhand Lions, on Thor for Marvel (2008) and their collaboration also succeeds here. The charming, serious and intricately detailed Cinderella, an essentialized indulgence in old-fashioned romanticism blended with a radical rejection of conservatism, is both rare and original. That Patrick Doyle’s score is as slow, gentle and romantic as the movie makes for a perfect fit. So this is what falling and being in love sounds like.
Disney’s newest version of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella, is an early contender for 2015’s best movie. Director Kenneth Branagh’s live action romantic drama is that serious, complex and powerful. This is no girly movie about a pretty servant waif bestowed with princely attention. Written by Chris Weitz (Antz, About a Boy) and made with both realism and romanticism by Mr. Branagh (Dead Again, Thor), Cinderella digs deep into dark psychology.
Preceded by an insipid animated short (“Frozen Fever”) based on Disney’s Frozen megahit, which in fragmented bits has the “Let it Go” sister character sneezing miniature snowmen during an effort to please her sister, belting another tune that’s out of proportion to the story, one of literature’s most iconic characters gets a strong, stylized backstory that dramatizes why she runs.
The child Ella, as she’s known to her parents, is wanted and loved and raised to “believe in everything” which in this context means to regard the universe as benevolent, so she sees the world as it could be. Her father’s a hardworking, moneymaking merchant. Her mother’s an imaginative woman who hushes her daughter with warm melodies. Ella dances with her dad, relishes life at her country home including its resident animals—she takes a liking to a mouse that she notices is “greedy”—and cuddles a stuffed bear as she falls asleep at night, a happy only child in a proud, productive home. How rare it is that a rich businessman is portrayed in a positive light, let alone that his wife and child are shown being loved by the capitalist, who in the broadest sense evokes Henry Rearden in Atlas Shrugged.
That he winds up with a woman who evokes that novel’s wicked Lillian Rearden is a credit to Weitz’s script and Mr. Branagh’s single-minded storytelling. This is the most philosophical version of Cinderella, powerfully developing, binding and reimagining the girl’s story to the point of utter anguish and agony, caused by the stepmother Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett), who hates herself, her children, men, man and the entire universe, even her very own miserable beast of a cat. Stepmother embodies the irrational female ideal; overdone style as mask for what is rotten at the core. The lady is a monster.
Tremaine makes one of the screen’s great entrances, after Ella’s mother prematurely dies, and Cinderella‘s transitions, exits and entrances, landscapes, costumes, colors, designs, sets, songs and score by Patrick Doyle are themselves a grand and skillful achievement. Her very steps are contemptuous of work and effort and, in the final instant of her introduction, she smiles, intending the opposite of the expression on her face, the whole sweep of her existence a fraud. But the villainess comes after the exit of Ella’s mother, which establishes pretext to the story’s highest theme that there lies within one’s strength and soul the power to unite what is and ought to be but, also, and crucially, that there is but one life, and it is here and now, not ever after, and that, like the stroke of midnight, it comes to an end. Cinderella is exactly that sincere, severe and subversive. It is exquisite in every detail.
Ella is left by her mother with an example in grace, strength and spirit, and, after her father, too, makes an exit, she is tested, contaminated, damaged and deeply inverted so that by the time all commoners are invited to the prince’s ball, the sweet girl Ella (the lovely Lily James) is hungry, cold, tattered and totally enslaved, a near savage whose innocence has been turned against her to the point where she begins to lose herself. The incompetent stepsisters, Drisella and Anastasia, are mere extensions of their man-hating parasite of a mother, who may yet find an accomplice in the kingdom. Everyone, as most know, is heading to the ball, though not before Cinderella, given the name in degradation and hatred of the good for being good and majestically touched by a paternal spirit in a scene with a stag, catches a glimpse of man as a heroic being and life as it ought to be. Midway through Cinderella, the ball represents that which is possible.
In classic storybook style, music and pictures, director Branagh revises the fairy tale with heart, depicting the lonely, resourceful girl who finds the good, loses her nerve and ought to be rescued from her imprisonment. Enter the prince (Richard Madden), a grand duke (Stellan Skarsgård) and a captain (Nonzo Anosie), who will strive to find a suitable bride at the ball, under the guidance of the king (Derek Jacobi, The King’s Speech). While Cinderella faces an inner struggle reflecting on the mother-daughter bond, so does the prince through introspection of the father-son connection.
Together, Cinderella and her prince are electric. The actor that portrays the prince is perfect. The palace and ball are grand and their dance, depicted in slow, long takes, is magnificent, though it should have gone on and on. Cinderella’s dress is a wonder—the last dress she wears is also a stunner—and the prince is handsomely upright, too.
“Just because it’s done doesn’t mean it’s what should be done,” the title character says to the prince in a line that reverberates throughout Cinderella and its couplings and, despite overbearing computer enhancement and absurdism in an otherwise innocuously kind fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter), Kenneth Branagh’s larger than life psychological fairy tale stays true to its heroic theme. As it traverses from family bliss to parental poverty and grand romanticism, Cinderella ultimately arrives at an exciting and original destination, where the prince and rescued girl are truly in love with one another as equals. Dispensing with fantasy, seeing themselves as they are and literally reflecting upon themselves in mirrors, this time the man and woman align chosen paths with reality while diverging from tradition. With a willingness to judge what is evil, marvel at what’s good and innocent, and indulge in great moviemaking, Cinderella powerfully depicts the classic tale as young lovers’ courtship which begins with taking stock of oneself.
On the 50th anniversary of the historic violence during a civil rights march in Selma, Alabama, President Barack Obama once again disgraced the nation based on individual rights. He did so by minimizing the history of what happened at Selma 50 years ago, when peaceful Americans were physically assaulted and murdered by the government, reducing its importance, distorting its meaning and telling lies about America.
I say this because, while the first intellectual to publicly name Obama as fundamentally both dishonest and anti-American was Leonard Peikoff, I think that if America is to survive Obama’s calamitous presidency, Peikoff must be the first of many more.
Amid distorted visions, lies and coded signals for what he really aims to do, as against what he says he wants to do, Obama talked about the need to “roll back poverty” despite six years of failed economic policies and incessant dismantling of capitalism through massive government controls and takeovers of work, banking, business, finance and industry.
The president’s dishonesty worsened, as he railed against voting laws targeting certain types of people while he enacts voting laws targeting certain types of people. By reducing the historic injustice against blacks to the so-called right to vote, he insidiously persuades the passive listener into forgetting that Selma should be remembered for its unjust actions by the state against the individual, clearing a path for Selma to be revised in history as some vague, faceless collective crusade for some vague, generic, automatic government voting mechanism. Never mind the bloodshed at Selma that ought to be remembered as part of a struggle by the individual against the state. Blank out that the so-called “right to vote” is meaningless without the right to live, think, create, make money and pursue happiness or that the politician for “voting rights” is destroying individual rights by dictate or “executive order”.
Obama’s dishonesty climaxed as the speech went on. Referring to claims of race-baiting, he invoked his own administration’s report exonerating a cop in a local police shooting, which the black attorney general admitted found no evidence of wrongdoing by the white policeman who had been accused of racism, manslaughter and murder. Obama distorted the truth of the Justice department’s report—which, crucially, dispels the notion that the person who’d been shot had his hands up—baiting with some discovered racist e-mail messages to discard and evade the fact that police acted properly. “We don’t need the Ferguson report to know that [charges of race-baiting are] not true,” Obama said, baiting for race and evading the facts. “We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us.”
Most Americans should know by now that it is the nation’s current president that casts the shadow of racism. Time and again, whether denouncing a white New England policeman or evading his administration’s exoneration of a white Midwestern policeman, it is Obama, who views his own life as a story based on race, who rushes to judge based on race. It is Obama who prejudges, judges and misjudges based on race. It is Obama who judges, and calls upon Americans to judge, based not on the sum total of a person’s virtues in action—what the Reverend Dr. King, Jr. rightly called the content of one’s character—but based on the color of one’s skin. The shadow of racism, which Ayn Rand rightly called a primitive form of collectivism, is cast by the president of the United States.
In this sense, Obama at Selma, having earlier this year exploited Oprah Winfrey’s mediocre movie Selma, dishonors King at Selma. Barack Obama belongs on the side of Selma’s oppressor, not on the side of Selma’s oppressed.
King in his magnanimously peaceful crusade sought to enlighten, unite and liberate Americans, to obtain for the wrongly deprived their inalienable individual rights. Obama in his unilaterally powerful government action seeks to confuse, divide and control Americans, forcing those he regards as unfairly privileged to serve those he regards as wronged. It should therefore by now be clear that Barack Obama lied when he invoked the great emancipator Abraham Lincoln those nine years ago in Springfield, Illinois. Obama lied yesterday, too, when he told those gathered at Selma:
America is not the project of any one person. Because the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word “We.” We The People. We Shall Overcome. Yes We Can.”
Yes we can…what? On answering this question, contradictory Obama, who is himself the one person who regards America as his project to fix, blanks out.
The noble vow that “We shall overcome” refers to rising above the actions of an unjust government. America’s founders made reference to “We the people” …in order to form a more perfect union based on man’s rights. Obama’s Yes We Can serves only to negate and destroy: Yes We Can nationalize the medical profession. Yes We Can indiscriminately spy on Americans. Yes We Can destroy capitalism. Yes We Can refuse to wage war on states that sponsor Islamic terrorism. Yes We Can dictate what you eat, whether you travel, whether you use and what you say on the Internet. Yes We Can means No You Can’t do anything without the permission of the U.S. government.
“Two hundred and thirty-nine years after this nation’s founding, our union is not yet perfect,” Barack Obama said yesterday at Selma. This in practice means that Obama’s damage is not yet done; Obama the destroyer is bent on total destruction of the United States of America, its founding ideals and its highest laws. At its core, his Yes We Can means that Obama’s unthinking worshippers (“We”) can destroy America. With ObamaCare, the NSA, TSA and a gauntlet of government controls, and an unnamed Islamic enemy unchallenged across the world and appeased and encouraged to make catastrophic weapons, America’s end is closer than ever.
Obama closed his speech at Selma with another lie—a false profession of faith—that all Americans “believe in the power of an awesome God.” As usual, the president of the United States is 100 percent wrong. All Americans do not believe in God, let alone in “the power of an awesome God”, though Obama acts as if he wants Americans to believe that he possesses the power of an awesome God.
America is not a collective. America consists of Americans who are individuals. Some are believers. Some are atheists. All are considered to be infidels by America’s enemies, which is why all Americans should hold individual rights—including the right to not believe in a supernatural being—above all. While America’s Islamic enemies unite around what Benjamin Netanyahu rightly calls death, tyranny and the pursuit of jihad, Americans must reject Obama’s conflation of the injustice of the past with a future of total government control and instead unite around the truth that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are protected by individual rights.
To do so, Americans must step out of the shadow of America’s dark past and away from the shadow of this dishonest, dishonorable American president and into a new, reunified enlightenment marching as a nation of united individuals toward achieving the promise of the future the man on the mountaintop once so bravely described.
Read Obama’s speech
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