Quotations on Fascism

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fdr

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.”

                                                                Franklin D. Roosevelt

ernest-hemingway-beard-1

“Are you a communist?”
“No I am an anti-fascist”
“For a long time?”
“Since I have understood fascism.”

                                      Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

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“A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.”

                                                                               Henry Wallace

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“Fascism is not something simply to be studied in historical terms from the past, something that happened in other places and times. We, in the United States of America, face the rise of fascism in the form of religious fanaticism and bigotry against minorities, women, and the poor. If we do not act and vote against this rising flood of far-right extremism, we risk losing the freedom and democracy for which our ancestors fought and often gave their lives to defend.”

                                                                                Charles F. French

Russia Invades Ukraine: An Act of War By A Dictatorship

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I try very hard to stay away from politics in my blog. I attempt to deal with writing and creativity, but some events demand that writers speak out.

Russia, led by Putin, has invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation and is conducting war against that country. Additionally, some in the U.S.A. are actively supporting Putin, and that is horrifying. How can an American support the actions of a Fascist dictator against another country? Have we forgotten the Soviet Union, and have we ceased to remember the actions of Hitler?

I am not calling for America to go to war, but everything that can be done to stop and/or punish Russia for this craven attack on Ukraine must be done. Americans need to cease using this as a political football to attack the other party–that is unconscionable and utterly devoid of morality.

I fear for the lives on innocent people in Ukraine, and I am sure there are already many dead or wounded. Let us always remember that in the words of John Donne, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” The people of Ukraine do not deserve what is happening, and we must all speak out, including against Americans who support this abomination.

A Few Books We Need

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Some books speak to a specific time, and some reach across eras with their messages. Some include a message for a definite audience, while others span a more general readership.  And some times call out for certain books to be read.

Books are one form of the Media, which must remain free if freedom itself is to survive. Given the turmoil of our present time, I am suggesting these books as crucial reading for today’s world:

1984

 George Orwell

1984

(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

Night

Elie Wiesel

wiesel-elie

(http://night2011.wikispaces.com)

It Can’t Happen Here

 Sinclair Lewis

itcanthappenhere

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Favorite Horror Films: 7: The Wolfman

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The-wolfman

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Even a man who is pure at heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.” (The Wolfman)

This is the well-known saying that is at the heart of the 1941 Universal Studios film The Wolfman. This film completes the quartet of monsters that are at the heart of the Universal horror franchise: the Frankenstein Monster, Dracula, The Mummy, and the Wolfman. While there were certainly other creatures and monsters in the films in this time period, these are the four most prominent.

While we see science run out of control and ancient evils in the other films, in The Wolfman, we view a story of tragedy that is focused on an ordinary man, Larry Talbot, who is swept up in unfortunate events beyond his control. Because he is bitten by a werewolf while trying to save a girl and lives, Larry Talbot is fated to become such a beast himself.

The director and producer was George Waggner, and the writer was Kurt Siodmak. Most of our contemporary views about werewolf behavior do not come from ancient traditions or medieval European beliefs but from the mythology that Siodmak created for this movie. Siodmak created the idea that the time of the full moon is when a werewolf takes it form and that to become one, a person must be bitten by a werewolf and survive.

greektheatre

(http://mrostinienglish.wikispaces.com)

More importantly, he included elements of classical tragedy, of a man fated to murder and to be destroyed, despite his desire to be a good person. The incantation the gypsy woman Maleva intones over Larry Talbot after his death illustrates this theme:

“The way you walked was thorny through no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.” (The Wolfman)

Siodmak also addressed contemporary issues, specifically the idea of a star marking the next victim of a werewolf, much like a star marking the Jewish people of Europe by the Nazis. Siodmak was a German Jew who had been successful as a writer but had to flee Germany with the take over by the Nazis. While the reference is not direct, it is still a clear metaphor for the horrors of the Nazis. The film demonstrates that evil is both natural and human created.

yellowstar

(http://allencentre.wikispaces.com/)

In addition to excellent writing, the cast was also of the very best. Along side the star Lon Chaney Jr. were Clause Rains, Ralph Bellamy, Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskaya, and Evelyn Ankers. Jack Pierce, as in the other main Universal horror films, created the unforgettable makeup that is the foundation for all other filmic and literary werewolves.

Full_moon_in_the_clouds

(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

It was a film that was excellent in every level of production, and it maintains its excellence today.

Quotations on Bigotry and Taking Action

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albert-einstein-401484_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

“What a sad era when it is easier to smash an atom than a prejudice.”

                                                                     Albert Einstein

Martin_Luther_King_Jr_NYWTS

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

                                                                     Martin Luther King Jr.

elie_wiesel_2012_shankbone

(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

                                                                     Elie Wiesel

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“Wherever and whenever bigotry and oppression exist, we must oppose it. We must not remain silent–tyrants, fascists, and oppressors count on our not speaking out.”

                                                                     Charles F. French

 

The Sleep Of Reason Breeds Monsters, and It Can Do That In The United States of America

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800px-Museo_del_Prado_-_Goya_-_Caprichos_-_No._43_-_El_sueño_de_la_razon_produce_monstruos

(Francisco Goya ~1799)

This image is one of Francisco Goya’s most well known and important. It has been debated if its meaning lies in the personal for Goya or on commentary on society. We can never be sure of what the artist intended.

It is possible, however, to see how when people abandon reason and analysis, that horror follows. Fascism arose in the 20th Century as people in Germany, Austria, and Italy primarily abandoned reason to follow the emotional cults of personality that would lead to the worst evil the world has ever known.

In the United States, which has a terrible history of bigotry, nationalism, and violence, driven by right wing forces that abandon reason and, using tactics of Hitler, such as blaming others through scapegoating and pull people to their worst impulses and the use of the big lie, in which an untruth is repeated loudly and often, we must recognize that such evil is here.

The United States, on January 6th, experienced an attack that was directly against the sovereignty of the country, against freedom, and against democracy. This was the worst attack against the foundation of our nation since the Civil War. This was not a riot gone terribly wrong; this was a planned insurrection, an attempt to overthrow the government of our nation, and those responsible should be held to account for their actions. The insurrectionists responded to a President who used Hitlerian tactics of the big lie about the “stolen election”, which was fair and secure and not stolen, and scapegoating members of Congress as the enemy rather than members of a different political party. These actions were real, and they were horrific and abominable.

Americans, of any party, who believe in democracy must repudiate such beliefs. If as some suggest, we simply move past this insurrection, then we are agreeing once more, to abandon responsibility, analysis, and reason. The consequences of such ignoring of the enormity of what happened can be devastating to our nation and our democracy.

White power groups are an extension of the evil that Hitler manifested. Let there be no mistake about it. They represent bigotry and evil and dictatorship. And they are a direct threat to our freedom and democracy.

We must not fall into a national sleep of reason. We must stay awake, otherwise, the fate of this nation, of the United States of America, for which so many fought and died in many wars, will be at risk.

Evil Lives After: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 3 by Charles F French is released!

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evi lives after cover

I am very excited to announce that the 3rd book in my series of ghost investigators is officially released!

Evil Lives After: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 3 is now available for purchase on Amazon!

This novel continues my series begun with Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 and then continued with Gallows Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 2.

In Evil Lives After:The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 3, the Investigative Paranormal Society confronts an enemy that is both human and supernatural, one that the world faced down in World War Two and is confronted by as a growing menace today, that of Fascism. Jeremy leads the battle against the ghost of an American Nazi who lived during W.W.II and his grandson, who are both attempting to change the course of history and establish an American Reich. Freedom rests on their actions.

evi lives after cover

Favorite Horror Films: Part Nine: The Wolfman

Standard

The-wolfman

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Even a man who is pure at heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.” (The Wolfman)

This is the well-known saying that is at the heart of the 1941 Universal Studios film The Wolfman. This film completes the quartet of monsters that are at the heart of the Universal horror franchise: the Frankenstein Monster, Dracula, The Mummy, and the Wolfman. While there were certainly other creatures and monsters in the films in this time period, these are the four most prominent.

While we see science run out of control and ancient evils in the other films, in The Wolfman, we view a story of tragedy that is focused on an ordinary man, Larry Talbot, who is swept up in unfortunate events beyond his control. Because he is bitten by a werewolf while trying to save a girl and lives, Larry Talbot is fated to become such a beast himself.

The director and producer was George Waggner, and the writer was Kurt Siodmak. Most of our contemporary views about werewolf behavior do not come from ancient traditions or medieval European beliefs but from the mythology that Siodmak created for this movie. Siodmak created the idea that the time of the full moon is when a werewolf takes it form and that to become one, a person must be bitten by a werewolf and survive.

greektheatre

(http://mrostinienglish.wikispaces.com)

More importantly, he included elements of tragedy, of a man fated to murder and to be destroyed, despite his desire to be a good person. The incantation the gypsy woman Maleva intones over Larry Talbot after his death illustrates this theme:

“The way you walked was thorny through no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.” (The Wolfman)

Siodmak also addressed contemporary issues, specifically the idea of a star marking the next victim of a werewolf, much like a star marking the Jewish people of Europe by the Nazis. Siodmak was a German Jew who had been successful as a writer but had to flee Germany with the take over by the Nazis. While the reference is not direct, it is still a clear metaphor for the horrors of the Nazis. The film demonstrates that evil is both natural and human created.

yellowstar

(http://allencentre.wikispaces.com/)

In addition to excellent writing, the cast was also of the very best. Along side the star Lon Chaney Jr. were Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy, Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskaya, and Evelyn Ankers. Jack Pierce, as in the other main Universal horror films, created the unforgettable makeup that is the foundation for all other filmic and literary werewolves.

astronomy-1869760_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

It was a film that was excellent in every level of production, and it maintains its excellence today.

If you have never seen this film, I recommend it highly!

evi lives after cover

(coming soon!)

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

Favorite Horror Films: Part Two: The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari

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CABINETOFDRCALIGARI-poster

(https://en.wikiquote.org)

In this post, I will continue my series on favorite horror films, now focusing specifically on movies of the 1920s.

Another  brilliant horror movie of the 1920s is Robert Weine’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari — The German title is Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari — (1920). The plot of the film centers on a mad scientist, Dr. Caligari, a hypnotist, played by Werner Krauss, who exploits a sleepwalker, Cesare, played by Conrad Veidt, to commit murder. It is one of the earliest horror movies and ushers in a decade of greatness in film-making, especially in German cinema.

nightmare

(http://cinewiki.wikispaces.com)

The true power of the film is in its cinematic style, that of German Expressionism, which is based on the artistic movement of the same name. German Expressionism uses sharp angles, deep shadows, heavy use of darks and lights, and distorted forms to explore the psychological impact of visual images. In this art, the world is often not as it seems to be, and the artists explore distortions that lurk under the surface of apparent normalcy. What is perceived is often deeply disturbing and challenging.

'The_Prophet',_woodcut_by_Emil_Nolde,_1912

“The Prophet” Woodcut by Emil Nolde: 1912

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Weine employs these revolutionary cinematic techniques to disorient, frighten, and interrogate the audience. Cesare is a common man, forced by an arrogant authority to become a murderer, which is clearly a commentary on the dark forces at play in Europe in the early parts of the 20th Century, some suggested by contemporary writers. As Weine suggests, the mass of people in Europe would, in the coming decades, be manipulated into creating the horror of Nazism and the Holocaust. I am not claiming that Weine somehow could see into the future, but that he perceived the traumas occurring in Europe, and those distortions appear in his film. Like Weine, other writers, such as Franz Kafka, also saw such coming disturbances.

franz-kafka

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

While only some of Franz Kafka’s brilliant and disturbing literary works had been published at this point–“Metamorphosis” (1915)– is the best example, Kafka’s treatment of the darkness and alienation in society could be an influence on this movie. While it is not certain, I believe it is the case. Regardless of if this is true or not, Weine creates a deeply disturbing movie, one that maintains its power to this day, one that I recommend for all lovers of film.

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

Trump as Dictator

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I try to avoid political posts in this blog, but I cannot remain silent. Our country and our democracy are under attack from the highest level of government–the President.

Today, Donald Trump used tear gas and military force to dispel peaceful protestors in Washington, DC, so he could have a photo-op holding a Bible. Please remember that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees the right of citizens to protest peacefully.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

He then held up the Bible in front of a church to justify his actions, and that is the highest level of hypocrisy.  All Americans who love this country, who admire our democracy, and who want to preserve freedom must oppose this would be dictator. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents must oppose him.

Please make no mistake–I am not condoning violence or rioting, not at all, but Trump is using this time to project strength, but the strength he projects is that which is reminiscent of Mussolini and Hitler, not of Reagan, FDR, JFK or President Bush.

Remember that freedom and democracy are fragile and precious, and they must not be sacrificed to the altar of a projection of power. America needs and deserves better.