Quotations on Bigotry

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

                                                                      Albert Einstein

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“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.”

                                                                 Nelson Mandela

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“There should be no discrimination against languages people speak, skin color, or religion.”

                                                                         Malala Yousafzai

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“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

How Is Everyone Doing?

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The last couple of years have been turbulent, to be a bit understated, and I hope everyone is finding their way through all the difficulties we face.

I simply wanted to wish everyone well.

Please try to be kind and to find joy at least once a day.

I want to ask everyone: how are you doing?

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Favorite Science-Fiction Films: 2: Metropolis

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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.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

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.

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More Quotations On Reading!

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“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”

                                                                           Confucius

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Frederick Douglass, ca. 1879. George K. Warren. (National Archives Gift Collection)

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“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Frederick Douglass

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“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
Jacqueline Kennedy

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“Reading is the essential nourishment to the imagination and the soul.”

                                                                               Charles F. French

Remember to keep reading!

Quotations on Dictatorships

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“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

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“Dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy.”

                                                                     Jorge Luis Borges

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“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.”

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“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

Beautiful Writing: Part 2: Shakespeare

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I am happy to return to this series about writing that has beauty in it. 

I would certainly be avoiding the truth and not doing duty to writing if I did not include in this series the man who is certainly the best and most important writer in English Drama and Literature: William Shakespeare.

In full disclosure, I am a Shakespearean. I have made the study of his work one of my areas of my Ph.D. in English, I have taught Shakespeare many times, I have presented papers on Shakespeare, and I have directed and acted in his plays. So, I do come with a particular bias, but I maintain that his work is the core of English Literature.

You certainly do not have to agree with me.

I will offer a few examples:

Sonnet 116

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”

 

Henry V (Act 4. Scene 3. Lines 21-70)

 

“What’s he that wishes so?

My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:

If we are mark’d to die, we are enow

To do our country loss; and if to live,

The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,

Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;

It yearns me not if men my garments wear;

Such outward things dwell not in my desires:

But if it be a sin to covet honour,

I am the most offending soul alive.

No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:

God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour

As one man more, methinks, would share from me

For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!

Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,

Let him depart; his passport shall be made

And crowns for convoy put into his purse:

We would not die in that man’s company

That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is called the feast of Crispian:

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,

Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,

And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall live this day, and see old age,

Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,

And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.

And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’

Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,

But he’ll remember with advantages

What feats he did that day: then shall our names.

Familiar in his mouth as household words

Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,

Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,

Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.

This story shall the good man teach his son;

And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remember’d;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in England now a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”

 

Hamlet (Act 5. Scene 2. Lines 206-211)

 

“Not a whit, we defy augury: there’s a special

 providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,

 ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be

 now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the

 readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he

 leaves, what is’t to leave betimes?”

A Review Of House Bird By Robert Fillman

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House Bird cover (final)

Robert Fillman’s new book House Bird is an excellent collection of his poetry, and it clearly positions him as one of the best poets in the U. S. A. Mr. Fillman has previously published a chapbook, November Weather Spell, and between both books, he is clearly a top-level poet. His work combines honesty, observation, powerful images, and reflections on life.

Mr. Fillman explores what exists on the surface of life and what goes below it also. This is a powerful confluence that illuminates his experiences as well as how we, the readers, view the world. His poetry explores the ordinary in life and transforms it into the extraordinary.

It is difficult to choose my favorite poems from this collection, because they are all excellent. Still, I would offer “House Bird” which gives the title of the book and “Blessing” as my two favorites, but I emphasize that they are all excellent poems!

If you love poetry, please do yourself a favor, and get this book. You will see that Robert Fillman is an extraordinary poet.

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Quotations on Fantasy and Imagination

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“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

                                                                        Albert Einstein

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“One day, you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.”

                                                                        C. S. Lewis

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“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape? . . . If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

                                                                      J. R. R. Tolkien

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“Tales of imagination and fantasy do not only distract us from the world; rather, they also offer an opportunity to critique our lives, our politics, and our planet as a whole. Such tales are not merely fun; they are essential.”

                                                                     Charles F. French

A Few Quotations On Character

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“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

                                                                     Maya Angelou

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“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”

                                                                          Sophocles

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“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”

                                                                          Bruce Lee

A Call To Join The U.L.S.–The Underground Library Society

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I am again asking for those who would like to join the U.L.S., the Underground Library Society, to join and write a guest post. I put this request out several times over the course of a year, because I hope to have more people join in the cause.

In an earlier First Year Class at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, The U.L.S. — The Underground Library Society — was created. It is in the spirit of the Book People from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. In that novel, all books have been banned, and a few people “become” books by memorizing them, in the hope that, one day, books will be permitted to exist again.

In that spirit, I am putting out the call once more for like-minded people to join The U.L.S. All that is needed is to choose a book you would memorize if the need ever arose. The type or genre of the chosen piece does not matter.  There is no restriction on what you would become. You do not, however, actually have to memorize  the book now. If you wish to join, simply write a guest post in which you say what book you would “become” and why.

I have had several other bloggers join the U. L. S. Join the movement!

I hope many of you choose to join.

If you are a member and wish to add another book that you might become, you are welcome to do another post!

In the past, I have mentioned that I would become one of the following books: The Lord Of The Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

If you do wish to do a post, please email me at frenchc1955@yahoo.com  and write a guest post as a Word doc. Thank you.

Charles F. French

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I am looking forward to hearing from new members!

Please, come and join in the fun!