At 8 AM a few days ago a housekeeper was sitting in her car outside the house where she worked. No, let’s say 7:58. She started at 8. That was probably the arrangement. She was probably looking at her phone, whiling away the time as we do when we have these empty moments in between. What did we do before? Twiddle the radio knobs, woolgather, try to sort our marginal thoughts into little packages we can put on the shelf before the day begins.

A car came up and stopped, angled, boxing her in.


Here's what I heard from neighbors:

The bad guys - and they are bad, bad people, and I will leave it for those with more generosity of spirit to consider their possible path to redemption - produced a gun, as you see, and demanded the housekeeper’s purse.

She declined.

The bad man - and he may not be a man, technically; possibly a juvenile, and I will leave it for those deeply concerned with the effect of treating juveniles as adults in the criminal justice system, instead of considering the factors that may have bent this twig as it grew - fired three times into the car’s window.

She wasn’t hit. She started her car and rammed the vehicle that blocked her. Whereupon the bad guys got in the car and fled. Whereupon she gave chase.

Unwise, but impressive.

There was a cop car nearby, miracle of miracles, and he stopped to give assistance to the victim. They dd not give chase. The cops explained that there was a big gang of carjackers, quite modern in its multiethnic makeup, and they’d gotten some, but more were out there. They’d been hitting the north end of the lakes, and apparently had moved south to see what rich nuts could be cracked.

I should also note that the middle area between the north and south end of the lakes has experienced a zesty spate of carjacking as well, and every time I go to pick up Daughter I have my eyes peeled for the youts, the car that darts in front of mine. There are times I relax and then I remember that I am sitting at an intersection where every corner in this previously bustling commercial district is boarded up. The plywood still has murals. The murals enjoin us to heal and to love and to account for our sins.

The paper today said that the City Council members, in their wisdom, have proposed another $8 million cut from the police force, and want to cap the number of police below what’s in the pipeline.

No, I am not getting out. No, I am not sitting back and posting twitter snark because lol they have a Biden sign. The people in other threads on other sites are dunking on the people who put up the sign, but they don’t know that the victim in this case was a housekeeper who doesn’t live in this neighborhood. Is she entitled to our sympathy? Of course. As are my neighbors. But if you want to go the whole lol Biden route, then we’re indifferent about the fate of millions of our fellow citizens. Do I stop caring about a neighborhood and its inhabitants who may have, in the aggregate, voted a certain way, if they’re 12 blocks to the north? Fifteen? Seven? It would be good to know the rules so I can lol at the right people.

Then again . . .

This isn't to say there's no connection between how one votes and what happens down the road. Of course there is. I'm pretty sure they would have voted for Crime Bill Joe if he'd been the nominee years ago, because the alternative is unthinkable. (The other side would also want to put crooks in jail, but for the wrong reasons.)

The carjacking sprees are reported daily, and everyone wants someone to do something. The real test will be sentencing of those caught an convicted - whether they'll actually do time, and whether the usual Voices Upraised for Justice insist that jail time isn't the answer, root causes, institutional systemic systemism, and so on.

If you applaud the idea of probation for someone who put three rounds into your housekeeper's window, then I don't know what to say.

But our City Council president, given the chance to unspool and endless bolt of fatuous vapidity, does:

A lot of the other incidents like car thefts and armed robberies are also related to groups that are known to the city, that are known to law enforcement. So for me the package looks like increasing accountability for law enforcement, investing in community-based safety strategies that we know work to prevent violence, investing in alternatives to policing so that we’re not relying on police to answer every single kind of call that’s coming into 911, so that we have a more holistic system of safety that’s working to keep people safe.

She's not running for reelection, for some reason. which is no doubt due to a community-based holistic package. If I never hear from her again I'll be happy. She isn't fit to polish the chrome on the bumper of a housekeeper who said not today, and gave chase.



This in an intensely dishonest movie.




If you think you know who wrote the theme for the credits . . . you might be wrong. I was.

It's Ernest Gold doing his best Bernie impersonation.



As you might know, it's the Scopes Monkey trial, fictionalized.

Hah hah those hicks, those rubes:

No paper of the day would run a headline like that. Not on top.

I always had a problem with the casting, if you’re going to give the audience an H. L. Mencken . . . maybe someone who doesn't have a sunny persona cemented in the public mind?

The movie lets us know where it stands right away, with crowds of comically devout God-botherers:


They've assembled to welcome the character who is not William Jennings Bryant at all no sir any resemblance purely coincidental.

Oh those thumpers. An imdb comment:

What stuck in my mind as much as (if not more than) the trial was the revolting attitude of the townspeople: in one scene, they march through town carrying a burning effigy of Cates, singing about how they'll hang him. Once more, religion gone too far.

I don't know exactly how accurate the movie is, but it still manages to show an important event in our nation's history. One that continues getting fought to this day.

For the first 24 minutes, I swear they play “Give Me that Old Time Religion” constantly, just in case you thought you were dealing with reasonable people.

In case you wondered whether the local preachers were forces of light or darkness:

Yes, it's Claude. The locals love him, but the smart, sensitive people who realize what's at stake are deeply troubled, because they are thinkers:

Tilt the camera to show how these people are off-balance!

Anyway. The press descends to cover the circus. Hey, it's Mr. Roper:

All you need to know about the film's sensibility:

You know that the forces of reason and compassion and REAL SENSIBLE RELIGIOUSNESS rests not with the man whose face is fixed in certainty, but struggles.

Struggles and peers. By squinting we shall know the truth.

Okay, here's the thing. It would be a great story and a much better movie if it dealt with the truth of the Scopes trial, but it's not interested in that. It's just dunking on strawmen. From another review, written by a self-professsed Northern Liberal:

There are two problems here: the movie is a pack of twisted lies. There is a very good site devoted to debunking this movie; it's called "The Monkey Trial." Point by point, and with quotes and full citations, the site goes through the film's many lies, and history's truths.

HL Mencken was a bigot; his real comments about the South, not to mention African Americans and Jews, are atrocious.

William Jennings Bryan was one of America's greatest orators, not the befuddled dunce Frederick March portrays in this film. WJB was a champion of the working man; see the 2006 WJB biography by Michael Kazin. This biography points out that WJB electrified the masses with his speeches, helped make FDR's New Deal possible, and fought against Social Darwinism, the truly evil application of Darwin's theories to elitist, classist, racist, anti-immigrant, eugenic purposes.

The entire plot of the movie is nonsense; the Monkey Trial was a publicity stunt hosted by the town itself.

Oh, the small town?

It's Hill Valley. The famous backlot town from so many movies, the definition of small-town America.

Doc and Marty will be along in a few years.



That'll do; Matches await.





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