“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
“No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency.”
“When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”
“An injustice to one person is a crime against everyone, and we must always try to achieve true justice in the world.”
Charles F. French
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”
“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.”
“Our democratic country must maintain the separation of Church and State and move towards elimination of bigotry of all kinds. If we regress towards a far right view of the world, then the result will be the loss of that democracy and of our freedom. In the name of those who fought and died for our freedom, let us maintain American democracy.”
Charles F. French
“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
“Are you a communist?”
“No I am an anti-fascist”
“For a long time?”
“Since I have understood fascism.”
“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.”
“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
I just returned from a small weekend excursion and learned of the news of the overturning of Roe V. Wade. Those who follow this blog know that I try not to comment on politics on this site; I attempt to keep it a place for writing and art. There are times, however, when I cannot be silent here.
In a country in which the overwhelming majority of Americans support the right of women to have control over their bodies, the Supreme Court struck a blow for the religious views of the far right, and they seem to have forgotten the concept of the separation of Church and State. This is an extreme action taken by an extreme component of the American society, and it frightens me because it is a movement that could end with the country being controlled by a religious minority. Perhaps, I am seeing the worst possible conclusion, but the history of the world shows movements towards tyranny if not otherwise opposed.
I am also dismayed to think about the people in this country who voted for a fringe left wing candidate instead of Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. Had they voted practically, Roe V Wade would still be the established law of the land, and the Supreme Court would be a different makeup.
If Americans who support Women’s rights and are also in support of true gun control act in the next election, these mistakes can be rectified. But it will take a focused action, and a decision by Americans to support what the MAJORITY of Americans support.
Again, I am disgusted and dismayed by the Supreme Court. Please remember what happened during the next election, and let’s move the country back to a reasonable place away from the far right and potential fascism.
“What a sad era when it is easier to smash an atom than a prejudice.”
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
“There should be no discrimination against languages people speak, skin color, or religion.”
“Bigotry of all kinds is intolerable, unjustifiable, and immoral. We, as human beings, must always be willing to stand up against any kind of bigotry.”
Charles F. French
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face. . . we must do that which we think we cannot.”
“We must always have the courage to oppose tyranny, bigotry, and ignorance. We must speak out, use the power of our voices, and we must vote!”
Charles F. French
Metropolis is a brilliant science-fiction film (1927) directed by Fritz Lang. This movie, recently restored to its entirety, is a disturbing look at the world of the future through the eyes of visionaries in the 1920s. It is based on the novel of the same name by Thea von Harbou (1925). The book deals with a city created on the backs of exploited workers and run by the capitalist upper-class. It is also a love story, and it is set in the year 2026.
Metropolis offers a powerful and damning social commentary on the effects of the ruling class, the capitalist industrialists who rule the world by using and crushing the ordinary people who build and fuel their wonderland. While the workers live underground in squalor and destitution, the upper-class live literally in palaces high above the ground. There they explore and indulge in numerous amusements including those sexual and athletic. This film is not a simple polemic but drives its message through a compelling story that shows the love between the Master of Metropolis’ son Freder and Maria, who lives in the underworld and serves as a kind of saint to the oppressed.
Frankenstein, 1931, owes a cinematic debt to the mad scientist in Metropolis, Rotwang, and his equipment. There he creates a robot woman, using the life force of Maria. Clearly the novelist, Mary Shelley and her book, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, first influenced this movie.
Lang’s cinematic vision is exquisite and deeply influential to filmmakers who followed him in exploring the idea of future cites. His soaring towers and buildings, high bridges with fast cars, and aircraft flying near the buildings are based on the designs of the modernists and futurists, and this concept is a clear model for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Certainly an argument can be made that Metropolis is a foundation for many other science-fiction movies.
This film is extraordinary, and the full version is now available on DVD/BlueRay. It is an important piece of cinematic history, and I give it my highest recommendation.
“Every dictatorship has ultimately strangled in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited.”
John F. Kennedy
“Dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy.”
Jorge Luis Borges
“You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police … yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home — all the more powerful because forbidden — terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.”
“Dictators are cowards and bullies. They control others through abuse, weapons, and fear, but they are the ones who are truly afraid, as they should be. They should be terrified of those who oppose them, who are willing to stand up against them, and are willing to fight them.”
Charles F. French
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:
It Can’t Happen Here