Hollywood’s collaboration with the Nazis

The Hollywood Reporter has published excerpts from a new book documenting the ways that the American film industry collaborated with the Nazis in order to keep selling tickets in Germany.  From the introduction to the excerpt, linked after the jump:

In devastating detail, an excerpt from a controversial new book reveals how the big studios, desperate to protect German business, let Nazis censor scripts, remove credits from Jews, get movies stopped and even force one MGM executive to divorce his Jewish wife. . . . [Read more...]

Truths no longer self-evident

Part of the genius of the Declaration of Independence, whose passage we celebrate today, is that it lays out in very explicit terms the assumptions–the “self-evident” truths–upon which the new nation and its government would be founded:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

via Declaration of Independence – Text Transcript.

Today, these truths are no longer “self-evident”; that is, needing no proof because they can be taken for granted.  On the contrary, a good number of Americans don’t believe them at all, and they would seem to have little, if any place in contemporary American culture. [Read more...]

Taxes as a means of control

The Constitution limits the federal government’s power, but it does give Congress the power to levy taxes.  So Congress has historically used its taxing authority to pre-empt state laws and to exercise control over its citizens’ behavior.  George Will discusses an essay by David B. Kopel and Trevor Burrus entitled “Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Gambling and Guns: The Synergistic Constitutional Effects.” [Read more...]

The sequel to “300″

Did you get a kick out of 300, the movie about the Battle of Thermopylae with the weird hyper-realistic computer animation?  Then you will surely enjoy the sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire, which will pick up the story of the Persian invasion of ancient Greece building up to the sea Battle of Salamis.  It’s directed by Zack Snyder, who is giving us the new Superman movie this weekend, and will be released March 7.  After the jump:  the very cool trailer. [Read more...]

Your Local Attractions

We are getting ready to set forth on an epic road trip, going the length and breadth of this great land of ours.  I’ve always wanted to do that.  To get our minds ready for summer vacations and as an experiment in localism, I would like to ask you this:

If I or any other reader of this blog were to come through your neck of the woods, what should we see?  What should we do?  Where should we eat?  And if we eat there, what should we order?  Is there any historical fact, cultural curiosity, or quirky inside information that we should know about?

I realize that some places may not have all that much to them, but I have found that if you scratch the surface, interesting things are everywhere.  Other places, like big cities, have an overabundance of things to do, and what visitors need are recommendations and inside information.

I’d like to hear about natural vistas, odd museums, and local industries.  And food:  I’m a diners, drive-in, and dives kind of guy.  Particularly serious BBQ.  Chicago has deep-dish pizza and otherworldly hot dogs.  What food stands out in your city, region, or locale?  As for tourist traps, well, I’m going to be a tourist.

HT:  Jackie

UPDATE:  Everybody, these are priceless suggestions.  I will make a pilgrimage to some of these places.  Some I’ve been to already and concur about how great they are.  And some actually will be on our route this summer!   I urge all of you to refer to this as an online travel guide.

What is a nation?

As college classes, including my own, conclude for the Summer, I will reveal an academic secret:  professors often learn from their students.  Being an audience of one for all of those papers has its rewards.  In my Shakespeare class, several students wrote about some aspect of the emerging view of nationhood in Shakespeare’s history plays.  The nation-state, after all, was a fairly recent development in the 1590′s when Shakespeare wrote his histories, with England transitioning from the feudal system, with its personal loyalties to local lords, to a highly-organized central government commanding citizens with a strong sense of their “Englishness.”

But, as Shakespeare’s plays suggest, there are different understandings of what constitutes a nation:  (1)  a geographical locality; that is, a land, a place (“this sceptered isle”);  (2)  a people  (“we band of brothers”); (3) a government; that is, a sovereignty embodied in the monarch (“Henry V”);  (4) a distinctive spirit or ideology (not so evident in Shakespeare, except for perhaps hints of English liberties and differences with France).

It occurred to me that these same different views of nationhood are still with us today and that we Americans have not really arrived at a consensus about it, resulting in some of our confusions.  [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X