Musings from the Bunker 6/26/20
CRAZY THINGS OF THE WEEK
Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of the absurdity around us, but here are a few tidbits from the last couple of weeks:
AMC Theatres originally announced that masks would be optional in jurisdictions where they were not mandated by law. Their initial position was that they wouldn’t require the wearing of masks “by those who feel strongly they don’t help.” So now we’re letting individuals decide on science and safety? That’s like saying vaccines are optional, stop lights are merely suggestions, and mandatory education is only important if you believe literacy is helpful. Given that we are allowing people to determine whether rugged individualism justifies spraying germs around the room, why not also allow them to stick boogers in the hair of the person in front of them? AMC since has reversed their position, and now will require masks.
Retribution reigns supreme! President Trump continues on a mission of discrediting, firing, and derailing the careers of anyone who expressed concern about the Ukraine whistleblower or whose testimony to Congress didn’t comport with his own. It seems unimportant whether such testimony was true or even voluntary. The latest on this front is that Mr. Trump is still considering refusing to approve the recommended and apparently pro forma promotion of Lt. Colonel Vindman to full Colonel. This sort of official retribution has a serious chilling effect on future Congressional oversight and the willingness of civil servants and military officers speaking truth to power. It also smacks of the type of political retaliation exercised by only the most oppressive and corrupted regimes. Even if you support this President, imagine this sort of retributive norm being wielded by your political adversaries. We’re just one step away from criminal actions against political rivals. Oh, wait, we’re already there…
And what about the White House trying to reduce support for drive-through testing? The more I hear, the more I think I must be hearing things wrong. After all, how could anyone think more testing is bad? In the words of Mugatu in Zoolander, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”
In the category of “It Feels Like Everyone Here is Wrong,” comes this. Apparently a principal of a Vermont school was removed from his position after posting “I firmly believe Black Lives Matter” but “Just because I don’t walk around with a BLM sign should not mean I am a racist.” This one is dicey because I don’t know whether there was some additional history there. Assuming there was none, firing this poor guy seems unduly cruel. Yet one has to question the apparent need the writer felt to add the rejoinder that seems to scream out, “I’m not a racist.” There probably was no need for him to add the rejoinder. But regardless of the intent, just like I favor rehabilitation as the primary mission of our criminal justice system, I believe all people should be capable of learning, forgiveness and rehabilitation. He shouldn’t have said it. They shouldn’t have fired him. He should have apologized. They should have accepted that apology as an educational moment for all involved.
The lady who screamed and cursed at a Starbucks employee for enforcing a local ordinance and Starbucks policy requiring her to wear a mask. After she posted the poor barista’s picture and berated him publicly on Facebook, over $28,000 in tips have been raised on line for him. Not to be thwarted, she followed up with another screed that ended, “You all act like the terrorist organization you are.” Is wearing a mask really so difficult?
TOMATOS AND GARDENS
Earlier this week I posted a meme suggesting that there is power in growing a tomato. Scott Schwimer notes:
“I’ve grown tomatoes; it doesn’t really give me a feeling of power so much as giving me a feeling of achievement. I’m wondering how many people on your musing list has actually grown a tomato.”
I’m guessing there are more than a few (certainly Jen Petrovich, who sent a picture of an entire basket of beautiful heirloom tomatoes). Who else is doing a garden? We now have a modest garden in our yard, with tomatoes, herbs, jalapenos, beets and asparagus:
Of course, I feel sense of accomplishment about completing a jigsaw puzzle, winning a game of Settlers of Catan (a rare experience), making my own tie-dyed shirt, finishing a great book, seeing a hummingbird in the yard, and inexplicably guessing the name of a movie acted-out in charades by Andrea…all the simple things.
For those of us hungry for theatre, there are options available on-line. Our local entry is the Center Theater Group (“CTG”). This is a remarkable theatre company, one of the largest and most important non-profit theatres in the world—and it’s based right here in Los Angeles. CTG is offering an on-line option called “Scenes from the Vault.” These are just a few of the CTG productions from the Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre and Kirk Douglas Theatre (in Culver City). Included are scenes from Amelie, Lackawanna Blues, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Head of Passes, Girlfriend, and Until the Flood: https://www.centertheatregroup.org/art-goes-on/scenes-from-the-vault/?utm_source=wordfly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ArtGoesOnDonornews20200618&utm_content=version_A
But of all of these, in my opinion the best is the great Alfred Molina in Red, the story of the remarkable Mark Rothko. Rothko was Brad’s and my favorite artist, whose art we sought-out together in museums throughout the world.