Movie documentary: Boys State

youth politics

Boys StateOK, I’ve decided that I need to try to systematically see more movies. Recent movies. Normally, I would be at the cinema a lot this month, but I’m not. Luckily, I saw this list  of Ty Burr’s “Watch these 10 recent movies.”

Currently, I don’t have Netflix or Disney+ or Hulu, or HBO Max. But only since the end of December, I do have Apple TV+. I bought a new phone, which I haven’t figured out how to operate yet. But it came with a free year of the streaming service. And Boys State is available presently on that platform.

It is a “documentary about the Texas version of the one-week civics program where high school kids divide into parties and run for office.” As a political science junkie, this could be heaven or horrific. I found it closer to the former. “It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2020, where the film won the U.S. Documentary Competition Grand Jury Prize.” Then it was released in August.

One may be potentially seeing “the next generation of politicians.” The program is sponsored by the American Legion across the country, with separate tracks for boys and girls. Alumni include political figures as diverse as Bill Clinton, Samuel Alito, Dick Cheney, Cory Booker, and Rush Limbaugh.

Politics, and tricks

Are the young men better than what we have now, or are they just emulating the mistakes of the adults they admire? “They are fascinatingly complex.” For certain. “Boys State shows that those [noble] aims can only do so much to keep the uglier side of that process at bay,” Erik Adams of AV Club noted.

One candidate for governor took a position diametrically opposed to what he believed because thought it would be more palatable to the constituents. Steven, on the other hand, was “a young man whose political skills are second to his open-mindedness and decency. In short, there’s hope.”

I highly recommend Boys State.

T for Texas, T for Tennessee

Lorraine Motel

Texas.TennesseeT for Texas, T for Tennessee. This is a reference to a Jimmie Rogers song that was covered by several artists, including Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The version I first heard, segueing into another song, was by the Everly Brothers.

The states are separated by Arkansas, where I have never been, though my wife’s best friend moved there several years ago.

Tennessee Waltz

I’ve been to Tennessee twice. the first time was in 1970. A bunch of us high school kids raised money to visit Fayette County, which was described to us as the poorest county in the country. It was certainly very rural.

On that trip, we traveled rather quickly to Memphis, where we saw the Lorraine Motel. That was the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It would subsequently be turned into a civil rights museum.

Memphis Blues – Duke Ellington

The other was c 2002 when I attended the Association of Small Business Development Centers conference in the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, which was part mall, part amusement park.

Crazy Town – Jason Aldean

TN Tennessee, a state in the southeast US, historically abbreviated Tenn. Capital and largest city: Nashville.

Tennessee Waltz – Connie Francis

The Six Flags of Texas

If you’re not from the United States, you may or may not realize that Texas has an oversized presence in the American narrative. It has a unique history. It was controlled by Spain for three centuries, interrupted by a five-year rule by France. From 1821 to 1836, it was under Mexican control; remember the Alamo.

Then in 1836, it was a republic until 1845, when it became a US state. It’s been that ever since. Well, except for that period between 1861 and 1865.

Everything is bigger in Texas. It was the largest state by area until Alaska supplanted it in 1959. Now Texas is the second-largest state in terms of population. It has the biggest state fair.

TX Texas, a state in the south-central US, abbreviated Tex. Largest city: Houston, the fourth largest in the US, while San Antonio is seventh. “Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country, respectively.” Capital: Austin, the second-most populous state capital in the US, after Phoenix, AZ.

I went to a Texas state conference of Small Business Development Centers in 1996. It was held in Galveston, on the Gulf Coast. I woke up at 6 a.m. Eastern time, which was 5 in the Central Time Zone. I walked out on a jetty, and I stood there as the tide came in; it was glorious. Later, I saw a Houston Astros game in the Astrodome, which was not a great place to see baseball.

There are tons of songs about Texas. My favorite is That’s Right, You’re Not from Texas by Lyle Lovett.

ABC Wednesday

Curiouser and curiouser: 20 questions

Donald Trump, because he’s a twit. Planned Parenthood, because it’s constantly under attack.

There’s this website Curious as a Cat, and it asks one to three questions each week. Here are some from 2006 and 2007 I deigned to answer.

1. What is the one experience in your life that has caused the most pain?
Physical pain. Tie between a broken rib and oral surgery. Emotional, surely an affair of the heart.

2. If you had to pick one thing, what would you say is the single thing that can destroy a soul?
Telling so many lies that you start thinking it’s the truth.

3. What one thing always speaks deeply to you, to your spirit, no matter your mood or what else is going on in your life?
Music, always. I hear it all the time. Sometimes it’s something I’ve heard recently, but more often it’s a tune suitable for the moment.

4. What is the least appropriate thing to pray for? Continue reading “Curiouser and curiouser: 20 questions”

Earliest recollection of tragedy QUESTIONS

I know after the Whitman shootings, I was always looking up at tall buildings for several weeks.

One of the facts about 9/11 is that if you’re young enough, it was the singularly shocking event. But if you’re old enough, you might recall Pearl Harbor, various assassinations, Chernobyl or the Challenger disaster. I don’t remember Pearl Harbor, but I do recall two Kennedy assassinations and those of Medgar Evers and of ML King, Jr when I was growing up. It was Evers’ death I first recall.

But the event that actually terrorized me more Continue reading “Earliest recollection of tragedy QUESTIONS”

S for Severed States

The part of Missouri Compromise allowing Congress control of slavery in the newly emerging territories was declared unconstitutional.

I saw this article recently in the Wall Street Journal about some people on Long Island wanting to secede from the rest of New York State for a bunch of reasons; it won’t happen, BTW, because the state legislature wouldn’t allow it. But it reminded me that the 50 states in the US were not always the size that they are currently.

Even before there was a United States, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York all insisted that Vermont was a part their state. That’s why Vermont declared itself a kingdom in 1777, and Vermonters to this day refer to the state as the “Northeast Kingdom”, though it became the first state after the original 13.

In the early days of the Union: Continue reading “S for Severed States”