Movie review: The Antidote (be kind)

Tikkun Olam

The AntidoteThe year 2021 has been designated as Be Kind year. Designated by me, because 2020 was so damn difficult.

I was motivated specifically by two things, one positive and one not. On the upside is this article about Promoting the power of kindness. There is “a new documentary, ‘The Antidote,’ on Amazon Prime. Directed by Kahane Cooperman and John Hoffman, the film was inspired by what Hoffman sees as an increasingly dangerous cultural and political climate.

“‘There has been such division and such rancor that if that division starts eating away at these common decencies that we exhibit towards one another, then our democracy might truly be in danger,’ Hoffman said.” The “film highlights people for whom kindness isn’t a random act, but a full-time commitment. Cooperman said, “Kindness is a fierce tool and a weapon for change.”

Movie on computer

So I watched The Antidote (2020). The theme seemed to based less on kindness and more on actions of fairness and justice. The CBS piece highlights Dr. Jim O’Connell. Thirty-six years ago, “his mentor suggested he work for a year at a shelter. The shelter’s chief nurse told Dr. O’Connell to set aside the stethoscope and the medical bag. ‘And she put them aside, and I had to soak feet,” he recalled. Yes, soak the feet of the homeless.”

Reporter Mo Rocca asked, “When we pass a homeless person on the street, what should we do?” Dr. O’Connell replied, “The most important thing you can do is to look the person in the eye and just acknowledge them. Really, what they’re looking for is not to be ignored. Just saying hello to somebody, rather than ignoring them, is really, really powerful.”

Interlocking the movie segments is a classroom in Modesto, CA that requires a comparative religions class. You may not be surprised by the takeaway that most major religions have a similar creed, basically the Golden Rule. But what matters is that the eyes of the kids in the classroom were opened.

Other reviews

I found only a couple of reviews. One was a brief but scathing one-star user screed on IMDB calling the film “delusional.” The other was from the Austin Chronicle by Richard Whitaker, which I’m going to quote at length.

“It’s told exactly how you think it would be told. Lots of pretty shots of different locations, with stirring strings and maudlin arpeggio piano… It’s undoubtedly a Kumbaya chorus but is that a bad thing?… [Its] Panglossian philosophy often made the show seem a little glib.

“But maybe we do need to be beaten over the head with the idea that being considerate should not be regarded as a political act. ‘We need more of that,’ says one amiable gentleman who performs his one selfless act in his own moment of paying everything forward. When kindness seems in such short supply, [we require] a little reminder that it’s easy and takes so little effort.”

Invisible

I said there were two things that inspired my 2021 Be Kind campaign. The other was a post by fillyjonk. It really irritated me. She was waiting in a store for a package of meat. “When the man finally came out, ANOTHER MAN stepped up from the side of the case and said, before I could even open my mouth, ‘I need a pork shoulder’ even though I WAS STANDING RIGHT THERE.” The title of the piece, “Again, I’m invisible.”

I surely recognized that feeling. It is awful and infuriating and demoralizing. We can do better. We MUST do better. Rev. Jennifer Butler from Faith in Public Life noted this recently. “In Jewish tradition, we are called to the work of ‘Tikkun Olam,’ repairing the world. All our faith traditions echo this charge by requiring us to move beyond proclaiming our faith with our words to living out our faith in our deeds.”

Journalist Jane Pauley turns 70

She’s hosted CBS Sunday Morning since October 9, 2016

Jane PauleyJane Pauley noted on the August 16, 2020 episode of CBS Sunday Morning the 20th anniversary of her bipolar depression. Her acknowledgment of the condition was unsurprising. She’d written about it, and other facets of her life, in a book called Skywriting. The diagnosis came “out of the blue,” part of the subtitle of the book.

On October 23, 2019, Jane had appeared on CBS This Morning’s special “Stop the Stigma” broadcast to discuss when she was first diagnosed in 2001. Incidentally, she hated the term “stigma.”

Like most people, I first saw Jane on the TODAY show on NBC. In fact, I swear that I watched her appearance in 1976, introduced by then co-anchor Tom Brokaw. After Brokaw left to anchor NBC Nightly News, she was paired with Bryant Gumbel from the beginning of 1982 to the end of 1989.

I regularly watched at least the first hour of the program. She also had other assignments, such as anchoring the Sunday edition of the Nightly News from 1980 to 1982.

NBC launched Dateline on March 31, 1992, Jane co-anchored the newsmagazine from the beginning to 2003 along with Stone Phillips. I viewed it occasionally, depending on the topic. Then I largely lost track of her.

The Eye

“On April 27, 2014, following an appearance during a ‘where are they now’ segment and interview on CBS Sunday Morning, Pauley began contributing to the show as a correspondent and occasional substitute host. Pauley has been a guest host on CBS This Morning and has also filled in for Scott Pelley on the CBS Evening News.”

I’ve been watching Sunday Morning since it first aired on January 28, 1979, with original host Charles Kuralt. When I first got a VCR, it and JEOPARDY! were the first programs I would record; ditto on the DVR. Charles Osgood was the host of the 90-minute program for 22 years, taking over from Kuralt on April 10, 1994.

When I heard Osgood was retiring, I knew there was only one logical replacement. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. “‘We first got to know Jane when we did a story about her on Sunday Morning,’ said Rand Morrison, the show’s executive producer, in a statement.

“‘Our viewers immediately responded by suggesting she belonged on Sunday Morning permanently. And – as is so often the case, they were right. She’s a dedicated, experienced broadcast journalist. But – every bit as important – she’s a delight to work with. A worthy successor – and a perfect fit.'”

The show has been hosted by Jane Pauley since October 9, 2016. Notably, she has interviewed fellow Indianians such as David Letterman and John Mellencamp. She also got an exclusive with Garry Trudeau, the creator of the newspaper comic strip Doonesbury on its 50th anniversary in 2018. It was an easy “get” since they’ve been married since June 14, 1980. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Still, though the topic of that personal piece she did a couple of months ago she’d discussed before, it was amazingly affecting. Jane Pauley turns 70 on October 31, the same birthday as the late John Candy.

July rambling #2: Northwest disasters and Taxman v. Batman

Putin on the RIZLast Week Tonight with John Oliver: Stadiums, a ripoff for taxpayers; bail; and poisonous mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Laci Green (no relation): Systemic Racism for Dummies.

Muslim Groups Step In To Help Black Churches Burned In Wave Of Arson.

Why it’s never ‘the right time’ to discuss gun control.

Wil Wheaton: living with depression and anxiety.

Jeff Sharlet: I went to Skid Row to report on Charly “Africa” Keunang, “an unarmed homeless man held down and shot six times by Los Angeles police. Continue reading “July rambling #2: Northwest disasters and Taxman v. Batman”

June Rambling: Hal Holbrook; Marimba Queens

I see signs that say ClOSED, and it makes me a little bonkers.

pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)
pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)

My denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) voted for marriage equality at its General Assembly this month. “Ministers will be allowed to marry same-sex couples in states where it is legal.”

On the other hand, Freedom and Faith Coalition’s Road to Majority conference had an Obama figurine in the urinal.

CBS News Sunday Morning did a piece, Born this way: Stories of young transgender children. The ever-interesting Dustbury on Gender Confirmation Surgery.

Writer Jay Lake worked closely with Lynne Thomas, an Illinois-based librarian… to ensure that all his blog posts and essays would be saved for posterity. “Though this is a relatively uncomplicated task for his blog content, which he unambiguously owned, it gets problematic when you wade into the legal rights of preserving your social media presence. ‘You can’t just download Facebook content into an archive.’”

A cartoon from 2008, and still apt: A Concise History Of Black-White Relations In The United States.

Mark Evanier on O.J. Simpson trial nostalgia.

Evanier saw Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain. I remember watching the Holbrook special on CBS in 1967. Hadn’t seen it since, but it had a profound effect on me in terms of the wonders of storytelling. Also made me a big Hal Holbrook fan; I watched the Senator segment of The Bold Ones a few years later, which lasted one season, but won five Emmys.

Evanier introduces Julie Newmar to Wendy Pini. The former was one of the portrayers of Batman’s Catwoman; the latter, the artist who draws Elfquest, and who used to show up at FantaCo in Albany frequently.

Alex Trebek Sets A Guinness World Record For Hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ And Who is our new favorite ‘Jeopardy’ loser? His imitation of Putin WAS fun.

Eye Macs.

There’s a new blog, Verizon Wireless Hell. Meanwhile, Time Warner’s Roadrunner e-mail was out for several days, and not for the first time, but only the residential customers. As one unhappy customer I know wrote: ” TW is too big, and its equipment is too small, to provide reliable service, despite their eternal advertising.”

William Rivers Pitt: The Astonishing Privilege of Fatherhood

Distribution of letters in parts of words and auditory illusion.

The Seven Lady Godivas: Dr. Seuss’s Little-Known “Adult” Book of Nudes.

Jaquandor: please add this to my pet peeve list: the use of I as a lower case L. I see signs that say ClOSED, and it makes me a little bonkers.

Pantheon Songs on the importance of Blind Willie Johnson.

Jim Keays passed away. “He was the lead singer of The Masters Apprentices, one of the seminal Australian psychedelic rock and pop bands of the 1970s.” Eclectic stuff.

Tosy: U2, ranked 60-51 and 50-41.

Watch the bass player. Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens (ca. early 1940s). “This film seems to be a mirror image of how things are supposed to be. This is because original Soundie films were printed backward so that they could appear correct when played in the Panoram machine (an early film jukebox).” Someone flipped the tape, and it’s supposed to look like this. It’s also at 7:50 here, which has nicer resolution.

Was the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California inspired by an older Jethro Tull track?

Beatles’ lyrics and the words they used most. They used LOVE 613 times, more than any word that wasn’t a pronoun (you, I, me); an article (the, a); or a preposition (to).

The Groovy Imitation Bands of 1960s Japanese Rock.

Bobby Womack, the revered “poet” of soul music for his prowess as a songwriter as well as singer and guitarist, died at 70.

Maya Angelou reading her poem Phenomenal Women. And a graphic representation. Plus, Melissa Harris-Perry shares her exclusive interview with Dr. Angelou.

The Racialicious Tony Awards recap. The In Memorium segment, not in the show, only on YouTube(!)

A Tom Waits/Cookie Monster mashup.

A World Cup-themed Mickey Mouse short.

FROZEN support group. NSFW.

The 13 Most Ghastly Horror Comic Artists, Part 1 and Part 2.

GOOGLE ALERTS (me)

Jaquandor thanked me for pointing him to a couple articles. One was about Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson returning to the comics pages in the Stephan Pastis’ Pearls before Swine strip.

Interesting that Julio cites me for providing a graphic about technology ethics when I clearly noted the source, but I appreciated the shoutout.

Is UNO the card game that destroys relationships? The Daughter and I like it, and she’s more cutthroat than I. Jaquandor loves Chuck Miller’s description of the game.

Arthur links to me linking to him, but also has interesting linkage about the Bible.

SamuraiFrog answers my question about politics and about Dustbury and Playboy Playmates.

GOOGLE ALERT (not me)

Alcoholics fight ‘rampant epidemic’: Roger Green played for the Junior All Blacks. He screen-tested to play James Bond in Diamonds are Forever and acted on the big screen with Orson Welles. He married into British high society. Drove a white Mustang across the US. Made a fortune importing meat into Saudi Arabia. But he also had fights, criminal convictions, and three failed marriages. And he looks back on it all with disdain.

HOME angler Roger Green reeled in top prize in the Trowbridge Seniors match at Farleigh Wood on Tuesday with 29 lb 12 oz of carp and skimmers.

The play’s the thing

The eleven brothers of Joseph often sat so that the letters on their shirts spelled out words, such as SIN.

 

As part of a busy summer, The Wife and I managed to see all three plays in Albany’s Washington Park, the latter with the Daughter and a couple of friends.

Late in July, we saw Cabaret. The reviewer in the local newspaper called it the best show Park Playhouse has ever done, and that’s over a span. I’ve gone to the vast majority of them, and I would tend to agree. What was frustrating, though, was this ongoing commentary from some guy who “seemed” to know what he was talking about who was picking apart. “The woman playing Sally Bowles is too old” was the only one I specifically remember. No, it’s not the Cabaret that I saw at the movies in 1972 with a young Liza Minelli and a fascinating Joel Grey, but it still delivered a wallop.

A couple of weeks later, we saw Hairspray, which, of course, was a 1988 movie that was turned into a Broadway musical that was turned into a movie musical. I’ve only seen the original 1988 movie, the John Waters flick with Divine, which I’ve recently borrowed from the library. The show was fine, but what was really lacking was a live band. The singers were obviously performing to a soundtrack. At least on one song, the track skipped like a defective CD. To her credit, the person placing Tracy’s mom, when the music as shut off, finished the song a capella. The sound was also mixed too low; I think Tracy’s dad, who was otherwise great, missed a sound cue, I suspect because he couldn’t hear it.

The following week, it was Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, performed by teenagers and a few tweens. I know this only from an LP that came out over 40 years ago. The actual musical has far more distinct songs, but, in the main, not better ones. The performances were uneven but fun; the five muses who essentially narrate the story had two girls who sang quite well, two that were uneven, and one not so good. Joseph and the Pharaoh as Elvis were quite good. The eleven brothers of Joseph often sat so that the letters on their shirts spelled out words, such as SIN, when they lied about Joseph’s “death” and GRIN, when they are all finally reunited.
***
From the movie Cabaret- Money.
The trailer for the original movie Hairspray.
The Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat movie, starring Donny Osmond.

From CBS Sunday Morning:
“Shakespeare in the Park” turns 50
“Star Trek” in the Park