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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Muir Maiden: Peyton Place 1957- Life is Not So Swell in Pleasantville

This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I don’t know any other movie that perfectly represents its time and is better timed and has a better plot than Peyton Place. I mean think about, think about what Peyton Place is about and when it comes out and when it takes place. In small town New England, where everyone looks the same, talks the same and acts the same, lives the same way. Or at least that is how it looks on the outside. Peyton Place, comes out in 1957, a time where mom stayed at home and dad worked. Where divorce, or single parenthood were considered sins. Where African-Americans, were considered servants of Caucasian families, especially Anglo-Saxon families. Where sex before marriage and even the talk of sex and how people being physically attracted to each other pre-marriage were considered sins.

Peyton Place and the 1940s, as well as 1950s America, perhaps especially in New England, are considered the Utopia of the Christian-Right and what I at least call the Traditional Values Coalition of America. And yet this is all just a fa├žade. Peyton Place, is a movie where a single mother is raising her daughter. Her daughter’s father, dies early on, but she’s never actually married to him. Not only that, but this women played by the great Lana Turner, has an unplanned pregnancy with a married man. Again, adultery and especially adulterous sex, would be considered sins back then and in this community. And yet Constance MacKenzie, played by Lana, tries to come off as this better than now above it all person. Expressing the traditional values of Traditional America. Even though she’s lived a separate life where she expressed her true feelings.

Peyton Place, looks like a small town paradise in New England, on the outside. With good schools, good places to eat. Very friendly intelligent good people, things to do. And yet this is a town with a lot of the problems of a big American Northeastern or Midwestern city. Like Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, to use as examples. Where women have kids with men who are married to other women and without marrying the father of their baby and where the father doesn’t have much of a presence in their baby’s life. Where a girl, played by Hope Lange, is raped by her stepfather, played by Arthur Kennedy. And when her stepfather attacks her again, she kills him and get charged with the murder of her stepfather. Because no one believes that she was simply defending herself.

Peyton Place, is also a movie, where a women played by Lana Turner, learns to open up, socialize and even love again. From the principle of her daughter’s high school, played by Lee Phillips. Who teaches her that there’s nothing wrong with two people openly showing their affection with each other in public. Even in Peyton Place. And is also a movie where abortion, again in a movie that came out in 1957, but took place even further back in 1941, thirty years before abortion even became legal in America, where a doctor, played by Lloyd Nolan, performs the abortion on Selena Cross, played by Hope Lange. Because she was a teenager, whose stepfather is the father of her baby.

To say that Peyton Place was ahead of its time as far as the issues that it talked about, would be like saying the Empire State Building in New York, is a big tall building. This movie was a solid ten-years ahead of its time. That showed that 1950s and 1940s America, wasn’t all that pleasant and certainly not perfect after all. That they dealt with the same issues back then as Modern America deals with today. Only they weren’t as public and the attitudes about these so-called alternative activities and lifestyles, were kept in the closet and hidden. Kept outside of mainstream America. And it is a very good look inside a time that wasn’t as innocent as its been advertised.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Liberty in Our Time: Video: Blacklisted From History: Interview With Stanton Evans

Liberty in Our Time: Video: Blacklisted From History: Interview With Stanton Evans

I’m not an expert on Stanton Evans, but what I’ve seen from him is that he basically sees Senator Joe McCarthy as the good guy during this period. The Army-McCarthy hearings of 1953-54, chaired by Senator Joe McCarthy in the Senate during the 83rd Congress. Just after Dwight Eisenhower is elected President and Congressional Republicans win back the Senate and House of Representatives. That none of the people who Chairman McCarthy and his staff investigated were innocent. That they were all Communists, or at the very least had solid information about Communists in the U.S. Government.

Were there Communists in America in the 1940s and 50s, of course. Where there Communists in Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s, of course. Were there Communists who also worked in the U.S. Government, yes. Were they Russian agents working for the Soviet Union trying to dismantle the American Federal Republic and American liberal democracy, no. At least from what I’ve seen and all the so-called evidence of Russian agents working for the U.S. Government, all come from Tea Party or neoconservative Far-Right types. Who sees anyone even Republicans, who are to the left of them as soft on communism.

The so-called House Un-American Activities Committee, from the mid and late 1940 and then the Senate Army-McCarthy Committee, from 1953-54, did a lot of damage to America and a lot of Americans. Two major Congressional committees, that made Americans look bad simply because of who they associated with, or had contact with. The ultimate guilt by association, is what these two Congressional committees are responsible for. I mean, a U.S. Senator who is also Chairman of the Government Oversight Committee, Joe McCarthy, accusing one of the most distinguished lawyers and the Chief Counsel of the U.S. Army, as being a Communist and Russia agent, Joe Welch. Is just an example of how bad this committee was and the amount of damage that they did.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Eagle Forum Blog: Phyllis Schlafly: “Women May Choose Only What Liberals Approve”: Equality of Opportunity Not Equality of Outcomes

Eagle Forum Blog: Phyllis Schlafly: “Women May Choose Only What Liberals Approve”: Equality of Opportunity Not Equality of Outcomes

Seems like every time there’s some big awards show, like the Academy Awards, or some other big celebrity culture event, one of the big celebrities there takes the time to weigh in on one of the big issues today. And because of the internet, social networking, blogging and how dominant celebrity culture is today, these events and speeches just get played up that much more today. So, what actress Patricia Arquette did while receiving her 2015 Academy Award, is nothing new. Publicly coming out in favor of what is known as pay equity and closing what is called the gender pay gap.

I at least believe if you’re a true feminist, you believe in equality of opportunity for men and women. And what men and women do with those opportunities is up to them. But if you’re more of a Socialist, or a radical feminist, you somehow believe that men making more money than women is somehow unfair. Sexist even, even if the reasons why the men are making more money had nothing to do with gender. But what they do for a living, or how they prioritize their lives. How they raise their kids and the relationship that they have with their wives and the roles that they plays in their kids lives.

If the question is should men, or women make more money than their counterparts simply because of their gender, I believe the overwhelming majority of Americans would say definitely no. Some at least on the Far-Right, might say that the women’s place is in the home raising her kids and taking care of the household and being obedient to their husbands. While some on the Far-Left, like radical feminists will say that women are superior than men. And should make more than men anyway just because they’re women.

Men making more money than women and vice-versa, is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s only a bad thing if they are making more money than the other simply because of their gender. Radical feminists, somehow view men making more money than women as somehow discriminatory, sexist even. Even if men are making more money because of how they prioritized their lives. And kept working throughout, without taking paternity leave to raise their kids. Which some men actually have done, taken time off to take care of their babies. What we should do is make sure that both American men and women are getting the opportunities to do well in life. And what they do with those opportunities is up to them.