Favorite Science Fiction Films: 7: The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

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(https://en.wikipedia.org/)

The 1956 film The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is a seminal piece of cinema.  This movie combined the theme of alien invaders with that of xenophobia and the fear of communists infiltrating American society. Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter starred in the film, and directed by Don Siegel, in an Allied Artists film. The film was based on a novel by  Jack Finney called The Body Snatchers.

This black and white movie is atmospheric and establishes quickly a tone of distrust and disquiet, by creating a world in which normalcy seems just out of place. This questioning of normalcy, especially in  the context of 1950s America, in which conformity was seen as a virtue, is a strength of the movie. In post World War Two America, many people lived in a segregated world, divided by race, class, and religion.  Also, the United States was suffering through the hearings run by Senator Joe McCarthy, which were a modern version of witch hunts. The level of paranoia that was permeating American society is reflected in this film. Additionally, the possible effects of scientific research on humanity as well as the omnipresent nuclear threat also inform the tone of this film.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Certainly, there were people who opposed the insanity of the time, people such as the writers Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman, and the journalist Edgar R. Murrow, but I will discuss their courage in another post in the future.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers has grown in popularity and has become recognized as one of the most important science fiction films of the 1950s, if not in American cinema as a whole. The idea of the loss of humanity behind the façade of a person’s face gives rise to the current explosion of zombie movies. This movie also gave America the term that would live in our consciousness of “pod people.” It is a brilliant movie, and one that I suggest that you see if you have not.

Quotations on Fascism

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“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

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“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

Honor Memorial Day–2022

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(https://pixabay.com)

I hope all of you have had a wonderful weekend, but I also hope you remember why this holiday, Memorial Day, exists.  The word “holiday” comes from “holy day,” and the remembrance of this day and its purpose should be sacred. It was originally known as Decoration Day after the end of the Civil War, and it was designated Memorial Day in the 20th Century.

This day is intended to honor, give thanks, and remember those who have sacrificed their lives for The United States of America.  Please honor the fallen and the wounded on this day.  I realize the day was meant originally for the dead, but I extend my wishes and  thanks to the wounded also. Regardless of political beliefs or stands on a war, these are the men and women who fought to keep us safe, and they deserve our remembrance.

They deserve our thanks and our honor.

Please keep in mind that this day is not merely the beginning of the summer season, nor is it intended to be the time of a special sale. This should be a sacred and somber time. There will be plenty of opportunity for shopping and vacationing afterwards. Please remember those who sacrificed.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Martin Luther King, Jr Day — 2022

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Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and I would like to offer a few of this extraordinary American’s quotations as a tribute to him. He was one of the finest, most decent, and empathetic people in the history of the United States of America. We should all remember him and honor his teaching, his legacy, and his call for justice for everyone.

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

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Please Honor Veterans Day

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Today is Veterans Day, and I simply wanted to offer my thank you to all the men and women who have served or are serving our country in the Armed Forces.

This day began with Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, which ended the First World War. Congress formalized Armistice Day as a national holiday in 1938. After World War II and The Korean War, the day was renamed Veterans Day, and it serves as a time to honor all of those who have served or are serving.

Please let it be a day of honor and thanks, not one of special sales deals. It is a day to recognize the commitment, duty, sacrifice, and service of the men and women who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces.

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Please Honor Memorial Day

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(https://pixabay.com)

I hope all of you have had a wonderful weekend, but I also hope you remember why this holiday, Memorial Day, exists.  The word “holiday” comes from “holy day,” and the remembrance of this day and its purpose should be sacred. It was originally known as Decoration Day after the end of the Civil War, and it was designated Memorial Day in the 20th Century.

This day is intended to honor, give thanks, and remember those who have sacrificed their lives for The United States of America.  Please honor the fallen and the wounded on this day.  I realize the day was meant originally for the dead, but I extend my wishes and  thanks to the wounded also. Regardless of political beliefs or stands on a war, these are the men and women who fought to keep us safe, and they deserve our remembrance.

They deserve our thanks and our honor.

Please keep in mind that this day is not merely the beginning of the summer season, nor is it intended to be the time of a special sale. This should be a sacred and somber time. There will be plenty of opportunity for shopping and vacationing afterwards. Please remember those who sacrificed.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Torn Between Worlds by Nancy Blodgett Klein: A Guest Post

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This post by Nancy Blodgett Klein is the first of the guest posts on my blog by authors promoting their books.

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My book is called Torn Between Worlds: An illegal immigrant’s journey to find herself.

This is the story of Isabel, a 12-year-old Mexican girl who comes to the United States illegally in search of a better life with her father. A story common to many Mexicans. She has to leave her mother behind and this makes her sad. People demand she speak English, a language she doesn’t know well. She doesn’t feel welcome living with her uncle and his family and is very lonely. How will she cope?

Her kind sixth-grade teacher suggests Isabel keep a journal, where she can pour out the feelings she used to share with her mother. She encourages her to take home the newspaper to read to improve her English and learn about world events and politics. Isabel is horrified by the events that take place on September 11, 2001 in the US, witnesses a political demonstration in Oaxaca, Mexico where people are killed, and is forced to flee to Madrid, Spain to keep her and her mother safe from harm. Will all this chaos prevent Isabel from finding a way to feel connected to the world around her?

This coming-of-age story is written in journal format, spanning three years and three countries. Follow Isabel as she grows from innocent child into confident young woman through turbulent times.

I used to be a bilingual teacher to many Mexican students, including some immigrants who had crossed the border illegally with one or both parents. When I was a teacher, I noticed there were very few books that told the story of these students so I felt compelled to write this novel for them. It is geared towards young adults between the ages of 12 to 18. However, adults have read this book and  enjoyed it. Published in February, the book currently has five reviews on Goodreads and all of them are five stars! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56912602-torn-between-worlds

Here are three of them.

  1. I love reading stories written in journal format as you really get to know the main character. Young people especially are very honest about their feelings and thoughts when writing in their journal. The author has done a great job of writing from the point of view of a young illegal immigrant girl sharing her innermost thoughts as she deals with trying to fit in, a new language and frightening current events. Isabel is living in the United States at the time of the 911 attacks. A scary time for all young people but even more so for immigrant children. She documents her fears, joys, ideas and hopes as she moves between Mexico, the US, and Spain. We learn about her friends, her first kiss and how she deals with her parents failing marriage. Growing up is never easy, but for Isabelle, it’s especially difficult. I highly recommend this book.
  • Torn Between Worlds tells the story of a Mexican girl who leaves her homeland to live in the United States and Spain. Told in journal entries, the girl’s story pivots around the economic and political realities that necessitate her moves. She must adapt to different lifestyles and languages as she grows into young womanhood. Her strength and insightfulness make her a heroine girls can look up to.
  • I loved this very unusual story. Spanning three countries, very informative. I most enjoyed the latter part, where there was so much history of Spain and its heritage.

It can be ordered on Amazon.com by clicking this link. Available in paperback and as an e-book. https://www.amazon.com/Torn-Between-Worlds-illegal-immigrants-ebook/dp/B08QZRTRSS.

About the Author

Nancy Blodgett

Nancy Blodgett Klein worked as a journalist as well as a magazine editor in the Chicagoland area for much of her career after receiving a Master’s degree in Journalism from Boston University. Later on, she went back to college and earned a Master’s degree from Roosevelt University in Education. Then she worked as a public school teacher for 12 years. This included eight years as a bilingual teacher to mostly Mexican students. In 2016, she retired to Spain with her husband Rick Klein. They are the proud parents of two adult sons named Alex and Andy. While living in Spain, Nancy keeps busy with yoga, singing in a choir, volunteering in a charity shop for hospice patients’ care and participating in a writers’ group and three book groups. She also writes a blog covering a wide variety of topics called spainwriter.home.blog.

Martin Luther King Jr Day–2021

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(www.pixabay.com)

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and I would like to offer a few of this extraordinary American’s quotations as a tribute to him. He was one of the finest, most decent, and empathetic people in the history of the United States of America. We should all remember him and honor his teaching, his legacy, and his call for justice for everyone.

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

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Favorite Holiday Movies: Part One!

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This season is one of my favorite times of year, and I love doing this series on Christmas movies. Throughout the month of December, I will post on several of my favorite Christmas films.

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White Christmas, the 1954 film about two former soldiers who turn song and dance men and who help their former commander as he attempts to run a floundering ski resort, has special meaning to me. It stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney and was directed by Michael Curtiz. It features the songs of Irving Berlin.  As a major piece of American film history, that would be enough to be of interest to me, but it has a much more profound connection.

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My parents were both of “the greatest generation,” which is a description with which I agree. They were born and raised during the depression and were part of the multitudes of America who fought and supported World War II. My father was a Marine, and my mother worked in the Signal Corps.  This group of Americans had a toughness that was forged in the fire of great tumult, both national and international. They understood that the connection to country meant service and a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_Corps_%28United_States_Army%29)

My mother loved this movie, and it was a tradition in our family to watch it when it aired on television, which was, if I remember correctly, every Christmas Eve. If not that night, then it was always on a nearby night. Of course, as a child who was born a while after World War II, it was all ancient history to me then, but for my mother and father, it spoke directly to their lives and to their hopes and dreams.

Both of my parents have been gone for quite a while now, over 20 years–they were married for 48 years and died within 2 years of each other. As I have become older, I have learned to appreciate what my parents did for us, which, I have to admit, when I was young and stupid, I did not. To paraphrase Mark Twain, –it is amazing how smart my parents got as I got older. And I appreciate and try to continue some of the family traditions, including watching White Christmas, but now with my beloved wife. And now my granddaughter is old enough to begin to appreciate and enjoy these films. I still feel the connection to my Mom and Pop when I watch this movie.  This movie speaks to the connection of people, of hope, of joy, of happiness, and of the power of music.

And I wish we would have a white Christmas, and I hope it will happen this year.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Quotations on Intellectualism

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“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of 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.”

                                                  Isaac Asimov

 

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“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy.”

                                                   George Orwell

 

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“I’m tired of ignorance held up as inspiration, where vicious anti-intellectualism is considered a positive trait, and where uninformed opinion is displayed as fact.”

                                                      Phil Plait

 

“For democracy to survive, Americans must learn to embrace intellectualism, reject cult-like behavior, employ analysis, understand and use science, and think for themselves.”

                                                      Charles F. French