Thursday, July 12, 2012

For Blanka, who loves Truth. And Movies, sometimes.

Background: The novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was written in 1962 by Ken Kesey. The (classic) film, released in 1975, was directed by Milos Forman, who had immigrated from still-communist Czechoslovakia in 1968. (He also directed Amadeus, which was also great.)

Personal background: I was very moved during the Velvet Revolution by watching days of huge crowds gathered peacefully on the streets of Prague. This was about 6 months after I (finally) graduated from college and about a month after I had moved into my apartment on St. Paul Street, across from Penn Station, a couple blocks south of North Avenue in Baltimore. (So, not the best neighborhood, you couldn't park on the street without getting your window busted & my landlady put bars on the building's windows shortly after I moved in, but I was young and it was just me & a cocker spaniel and a cat, so what did I care?) Day after day on the news, I saw so many people staying so sane, and there were stories of the PA equipment being used to locate parents of misplaced children and so forth. I recall being very impressed that so many people had gathered so peacefully, and I even remember thinking that if that many people gathered in Los Angeles (just pulling an American city out of the air), it would be a riot. (The L.A. Riots happened 3 years later in 1992, around the time of what the BBC calls here "The Velvet Divorce".)

Finally, the post itself: This talented film director of classic films, Milos Forman, has pointed out in the New York Times that all of the name-calling of President Obama's platform and accomplishments as "Socialism" isn't just the ho-hum hyperbole we expect and ignore in an election year. It isn't just inaccurate. It is a profound "misunderestimation" (to throw out a classic Bush-ism) of world history, and ignoring such nonsense just because we know it's nonsense (and assume everyone else does) isn't right.

Thank you, Mr. Forman, for speaking up. We needed to hear that from an authentic voice such as yours.

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