Monday, October 23, 2006

Lately, I've been indulging my Anglophilia by reading a lot of British novels and watching a lot of British movies (and by a lot, I mean some because UNICEF/Boo stuff is currently consuming a lot of my time). I finished up Jane Eyre and loved it. Then I watched and read A Room With A View. Most recently I watched the BBC miniseries adaption of Middlemarch and now plan to read the book.

I'm finding that instead of being put off by movie versions of books, lately I'm being so inspired by them that I go out and find the book immediately after watching the movie - just so that I can read for myself all of the details that I know have been left out of (or botched up in) the screen play.

Anyways, Middlemarch was excellent. Extremely long, but excellent. It took me almost two and a half weeks to get through the entire thing - I think it was about 7 hours long! Which was annoying (damn those movie late fees!) but wonderful - to have something that good not be over in an hour. Happiness is a British miniseries!

(And chocolate - one cannot forget chocolate.)

There's a quote at the very end of the Middlemarch series that gave me tingles and the cinematography of the scene is beautiful itself, too.* So when Colin came home from the studio, there I was, scribbling it down into my notebook with the close-captioning on. I'm not even certain its a direct quote from the book; guess I'll find out when I start reading it...

"And Dorothea...

She had no dreams of being praised above other women, feeling that there was always something better which she might have done, if only she had been better, and known better.

Her full nature spent itself in deeds which left no great name on the earth, but the effect of her being on those around her was incalculable.

For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts, and on all of those Dorotheas who live faithfully their hidden lives, and rest in unvisited tombs."

George Eliot's MIDDLEMARCH
*And when I Googled it, I was led to this discussion group of mostly women who gathered to discuss what the movie and book meant to them.... back in 1997.

I know its just a small insignificant page, but when I stumble onto some neat-little-coincidence-of-a-site like that I'm struck again by how amazing and cool this crazy thing called the Internet really is. Especially a site where it feels like you've come across... well, footprints in the sand as it were: you can see people were gathered there once, where they are now no one knows, but cyber traces of them remain - their words have taken on a strange kind of immortality.
I love this story...

The most visible action of CORE in the movement was the Freedom Rides, designed to test the federal law prohibiting discrimination on interstate public transportation. Small interracial groups boarded Greyhound and Trailway buses, beginning in Washington, D.C. They found that the "colored" and "white" signs had been removed in the bus stations of Virginia and they encountered no problems until they crossed into Alabama.

In Anniston, Alabama, their bus was fire bombed and the riders were beaten with sticks and had rocks thrown at them as they tried to get off. One sixty-year-old man went into cardiac arrest. When the riders were taken to the hospital, no one would treat them. The hospital demanded that they leave, but this seemed impossible because an angry crowd surrounded the building. Fortunately for the riders, a caravan of fifteen cars, led by Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth of Birmingham, showed up to rescue them.

As Hank Thomas, one of the Freedom Riders recalled "everyone one of those cars had a shotgun in it. And Fred Shuttlesworth had got on the radio and said – you know Fred, he's very dramatic – 'I'm going to get my people… I'm a non-violent man, but I'm going to get my people!"

The issue of armed self-defense highlighted one of the many differences in approach among those committed to non-violence. CORE and SCLC members were always unarmed during demonstrations and actions. Some like King and Lawson were committed to principles of non-violence as a way of life. Others like Shuttlesworth were committed to non-violence as a tactic, but reserved the right of self-defense. For hundreds of participants in demonstrations, non-violence was a useful and pragmatic tactic. Ernest Green pointed out the logic of non-violence in his situation as one of nine black high school students daily surrounded by hundreds of potentially hostile Whites – police and parents, as well as the other students at Little Rock's Central High. The white South had always held the upper hand in terms of guns and arms. To respond in kind would have been disastrous. Furthermore, the unarmed presence of demonstrators revealed the violence inherent in maintaining white supremacy. When dogs and fire hoses were turned on praying people in Birmingham, it was clear to even casual observers who the aggressors were. Or as King wrote in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," "we who engage in non-violent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive."

from Chapter 11 "The Civil Rights Movement: Participatory Democracy and Nonviolence in Action" in the book The Missing Peace: The Search for Nonviolent Alternatives in United States History

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Did you know that of the original, ancient Seven Wonders of the World, only the Pyramid of Giza remains?

Did you know that there's a competition under way to choose the new 7 Wonders of the World?

Go here to cast your vote!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

There's nothing more attractive then church-strutting, is there?

(Yes, yes, I know - but I didn't really want an answer.)

(The image is from Final Fantasy's Advent Children - one I've had saved on my PC for over 3 years now.)