Probably not a good time to watch ‘Richard Jewell’, but glad we did

Still shot from film 'Richard Jewell'
Still shot from film ‘Richard Jewell’. Paul Walter Hauser gave an amazing performance of the title character.

We were in search of a film to watch in these trying times, and we settled on Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell. The Coronavirus epidemic is upending my innate distrust of the federal government, because right now, we pretty much have to trust different tiers of government, at least on some level.  So this probably wasn’t a good time to watch a film like this. Continue reading “Probably not a good time to watch ‘Richard Jewell’, but glad we did”

In 76 year old murder case, author Kendall Bell puts reader on jury for new ‘trial’

New nonfiction book 'Triple Tragedy in Alcolu' by Kendall Bell
New nonfiction book ‘Triple Tragedy in Alcolu’ by Kendall Bell

If you grew up in South Carolina in the 1950s, chances are you’d eventually hear someone mention the case of George Stinney, Jr. Depending on the context of the conversation, you’d hear one of two things.

The 14 year old black teen executed for the horrific murder of 11 year old Betty June Binnicker was truly guilty and justice was served.

The 14 year old black teen was railroaded, pure and simple, and there’s no other way to see it.

A new book by Kendall Bell, Triple Tragedy in Alcolu, is out, and instead of hyperbole and innuendo, the author takes a neutral approach to his subject matter.
Continue reading “In 76 year old murder case, author Kendall Bell puts reader on jury for new ‘trial’”

Yes, we keep New Year’s traditions to ward off bad luck

Happy New Year (1910) from Keppler & Schwarzmann
Happy New Year cartoon (1910) from Keppler & Schwarzmann published in ‘Puck’. (US LOC image)

In the US South, superstition is a given. I grew up in a very diverse neighborhood, and regardless of skin color, many people I loved were quite superstitious.

As a young adult, I found it quaint. As a mature adult, I find myself still keeping those traditions to ward off bad luck and bring the good luck in.

One superstition reigned above all else in my grandmother and mother’s minds, though. Continue reading “Yes, we keep New Year’s traditions to ward off bad luck”

As 2019 wanes, US Library of Congress leaves insult to Native American in place

bricks symbol for brickbatsIn June, 2019, I wrote a column to call attention to misleading information the US Library of Congress published. The LOC, enthusiastically announcing the appointment of Joy Harjo as the nation’s new poet laureate, claimed in the subhead to the article that Harjo is the first Native American to serve as US poet laureate. Poet A.M. Juster attempted to get the record set straight, as did I.

Harjo was not the nation’s first native American to serve in that capacity, unless you play word games with reality or opt for politics over truth. Continue reading “As 2019 wanes, US Library of Congress leaves insult to Native American in place”

Revisiting a classic: Shirer’s work on The Third Reich

Nazi Youth with their first flag. From US Library of Congress
Nazi Youth with their first flag. From US Library of Congress; sometimes between 1923-1933.

Pt. 1

How much do you really know about the Nazis?

I was born in the aftermath of World War II, and there were so many of us born in hope after the great despair of the war, my generation acquired the now derogatory label ‘boomers’. It stands to reason that I would be very interested in that war, in what caused it, and why it mattered so much that we named it a world war after declaring the first World War would end all wars. I grew up hearing stories of oil cloth placed over windows when sirens would sound the alarm, and of ration cards for gas and sugar. I still have some of those ration cards.

Those are some reasons I am writing about my revisit of William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. There’s another more immediate reason, though. Continue reading “Revisiting a classic: Shirer’s work on The Third Reich”