November 21, 2013
I hate crowds. I like watching them from the outside but I don’t enjoy the actual experience of being one of the crew. Like sunning on the beach. Wedding receptions. But give me a camera or a bottle of scotch. And let me separate myself. And then I find them fascinating. One of my favourite films in this regard is Grand Hotel with the very young Joan Crawford amongst other great stars.
November 17, 2013
November 6, 2013
October 27, 2013
50 years ago. Almost yesterday. The death of Kennedy. The creation of Camelot. What I recall years later, after Bobby’s and King’s murders was Jackie Kennedy remarrying. And leaving the country. To protect her children from them. Them.
She was a frightened woman. That tells you a lot of what is behind the curtain of myth, spin, and America.
September 7, 2013
Been watching Mad Men. Reminded me of how rigid people’s lives were. There were expectations about the good life and a prescription of what that was. This was after WWII and Korea. Where did these ideas come from. Or were they being made up on the roll. One of the worst ideas in television has to be Queen for a Day. Making money on misery.
August 16, 2013
There’s a new movie coming out called The Butler. It deals with racism in America. Racism in Toronto was different. When I was a kid growing up there were no black students. I never met a black person. There were no black families in the city where I lived or in the suburbs where we moved when I was 6. The only blacks I saw were on the news and in Buffalo when my parents crossed the American border.
Its painful to recall the kind of ideas that were roaming around the heads of 9 and 10 year olds. Were Negroes the missing link between humans and apes? Were Negroes innately slower? Should they be allowed the same rights as the rest of us? Our inhumanity at that time is difficult to explain. But we were obviously picking up these ideas from the adult world. And there was something else. Something even stronger than these prejudices. A sense of fairness. No matter how you argued any issue, we all knew that ‘negroes’ weren’t being treated fairly.
August 13, 2013
Gilles de Montmorency-Laval (also known as Gilles de Retz) (1404–1440), Baron de Rais, was a Breton knight, a leader in the French army and a companion-in-arms of Joan of Arc. He is best known by his reputation and conviction as a prolific serial killer of children.
A member of the House of Montmorency-Laval, Gilles de Rais grew up under the tutelage of his maternal grandfather and increased his fortune by marriage. He earned the favour of the Duke of Brittany and was admitted to the French court. From 1427 to 1435, Gilles served as a commander in the Royal Army, and fought alongside Joan of Arc against the English and their Burgundian allies during the Hundred Years’ War, for which he was appointed Marshal of France.
In 1434/1435, he retired from military life, depleted his wealth by staging an extravagant theatrical spectacle of his own composition and dabbled in the occult. After 1432 Gilles engaged in a series of child murders, his victims possibly numbering in the hundreds. The killings came to an end in 1440 when a violent dispute with a clergyman led to an ecclesiastical investigation which brought Gilles’ crimes to light. At his trial the parents of missing children in the surrounding area and Gilles’ own confederates in crime testified against him. Gilles was condemned to death and hanged at Nantes on 26 October 1440.
To this day there is some controversy regarding his guilt or innocence.