Terminator Genisys: A Review
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Terminator Genisys: A Review

Go see this movie, it’s GREAT!

Now that my loyalty has been assuaged, let me discuss the movie more thoughtfully.

This latest addition to the franchise pays loving homage to the first Terminator. For people like me who are fans of the first Terminator, that’s a beatific thing. There were moments…lines…scenes…that made me cheer, because they precisely evoked the first Terminator.

The first Terminator is a perfect movie. Artistically speaking, it was extremely well done. I’m talking as a writer now, as a professional storyteller. The first movie has no loose ends, no extraneous moments, no extra dialogue, no unnecessary anything, no flab whatsoever. The entire movie argues to the specific value that machines can never be human.

What’s the name of the bar where Kyle Reese first reveals himself to Sarah Connor, when he saves her? Tech Noir. What’s on the answering machine for Sarah and her roommate? “Machines need love too….” Nope, they don’t. That’s the point. Machines don’t need love…they never feel remorse or pity. Machines are not human.

Machines will destroy humanity.

The original casting of Arnold Shwartzenegger as the Terminator was brilliant. As a young dude, he was so buffed up on lifting and steroids that he didn’t look human. He looked like a machine–like living tissue over metal endoskeleton.

In Terminator Genisys, Arnold looks…old but not obsolete. Never obsolete. No, never. I don’t care how many children he sires out of wedlock. As the Terminator, he can be gray, but he will always be relevant.

This movie was fun, and it had appropriate slow moments, too. What I mean is that, in order to be satisfying, movies need to flow between heightened intensity and lowered intensity. What I see lately–even in Mad Max Fury Road, which I enjoyed, [HELLO: CHARLIZE THERON, YOU ARE MY QUEEN!!!] is that too many movies are one long chase with explosions, boobs, and cars. Not good.

You get that kind of crap when you have too many suits involved in the process. Those people should not give a creative opinion. They should keep their traps shut and count beans. They should not try to weigh in on art–because when they do, they destroy art.

Terminator Genisys had moments of reflection and pause to balance and heighten the moments of wild over-the-top intensity. Someone exercised a little bit of control over those stupid suits.

My husband didn’t love the movie as I did. He’s not a fan of the first Terminator, that perfect movie. He asked me, “Why do you like those kinds of after-the-world-ends movies?”

Fair question.

Since I was a kid, I’ve looked around and noticed the insanity and evil in the world at large. Genocide. Monsanto. Bio-engineered fruits and vegetables that look good but taste like crap. Terminator genes. The unrepentant, unbridled financial ambition of large, multinational corporations that function as sovereign nation states without oversight or accountability.

The apocalypse is coming and it will be unleashed by one of these companies.

Am I really the one person who sees Google in Genisys? The head of Google says they come up to the line of being creepy but don’t cross over. I disagree. It is my personal opinion that Google crosses right over. Data mining is the latest iteration of EVIL. Big Brother is watching: Brought to you by Google.

I think Google is Genisys is Skynet.

So I am attracted to these themes because I see them being played out in front of our eyes.

Few people care. As long as they have the latest iPhone, Netflix, Spotify, and access to marijuana, they don’t question what is really going on.

A stoner is a subject, not a citizen.

The suits are winning. In the real world and in the making of movies.

Go see Terminator Genisys. And think about it.

Terminator Genisys

Citizenfour: The Most Important Movie You Will Ever See
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Citizenfour: The Most Important Movie You Will Ever See

I recently finished a WWII novel, and I’m still researching the era for another, very different novel set during the same time period. Since one of my closest friends is a Bavarian woman whom I know to be a person of integrity, heart, courage, compassion, and grace, I was curious: how did the NSDAP come to control Germany so completely that its citizens would commit atrocities? So that atrocities would be legalized?

Part of the answer lies in the fact that the NSDAP under Adolf Hitler legalized the illegal. They made laws to force their citizens to participate in the killing of Jews, Poles, the Romany, Socialists, Communists, and anyone who disagreed with the Nazi party. They made laws to enforce the killing and sterilization of children and adults with physical “imperfections” such as mental retardation.

So the Nazi party in Germany created a legal system based on hatred and killing. To enforce this legal system, they instituted a series of Party overseers, one in every community, to make sure that people remained “Loyal” to the party. This was the state police, the Gestapo. The Gestapo surveilled every German citizen, collecting vast files of information about German individuals. There was no “privacy” because the German State was everything.

Every dictatorship surveilles its population as a method of controlling its subjects. This is pointed out in CITIZENFOUR, Laura Poitras’ film about Ed Snowden.

Admittedly, from the beginning, I have considered Snowden a hero. There is no justification for the massive, George-Orwell-1984-Big-Brother spying on citizens in which the United States intelligence services participate. It is an outright breach and invasion of privacy, ethics, and all things good and true.

Our government, the United States government under Barack Obama, is participating in–perhaps perfecting–the exact same tactics employed by Hitler and the Nazi party: Watch every citizen. Scrutinize every private individual. Know what every single person in the State is thinking, saying, and doing. It’s all about information linking, you see.

I know this because I have been researching the Gestapo.

I happened to be at a showing of Citizenfour at Lincoln Plaza after which Poitras appeared for a Q & A. No, she doesn’t know if she’s been followed, but she expects that the US Government would use skilled personnel to follow her. She has been told that all her electronic communication “lights up like a Christmas tree” in the offices where electronic communication is collected and followed.

Poitras was composed, articulate, and expressive. She said that Snowden was exactly as portrayed in the movie: articulate and collected, trying to teach her, Glenn, and Ewan what was most important in the information he gave them.

Some people consider Snowden a traitor. Consider the White Rose in Germany, which consisted of students at the University of Munich and their professor. They had an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign to inform the German public of what was actually being done to Jews and to call the Nazi government to question.

Here is what Wikipedia says of them:

White Rose survivor Jürgen Wittenstein described what it was like to live in Hitler’s Germany: “The government – or rather, the party – controlled everything: the news media, arms, police, the armed forces, the judiciary system, communications, travel, all levels of education from kindergarten to universities, all cultural and religious institutions. Political indoctrination started at a very early age, and continued by means of the Hitler Youth with the ultimate goal of complete mind control. Children were exhorted in school to denounce even their own parents for derogatory remarks about Hitler or Nazi ideology.”

The White Rose was considered traitorous, too. So they were executed.

And “Ultimate goal of mind control” can only be the reason for the NSA’s total surveillance of the American population, including hundreds of millions of completely loyal American citizens.

How long before the US government insists on the same kind of control? All in the name of “protecting” American citizens from terrorists?

Just as the Gestapo was protecting German citizens from Judeo-Bolshevik enemies.

The most important concept in the movie was one that Snowden articulated: that the NSA’s actions change the balance of power so that it’s not elected-officials and electorate, it’s now rulers and those who are ruled.

See the movie. Think about the United States government, which is acting like a bully and a dictatorship.




Supporting Sam Harris
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Supporting Sam Harris

I took a year of Arabic as an undergraduate at Yale. Along with the language, we also discussed the culture of the Arab world. This was the mid-80’s, so liberal sanctimony didn’t have quite the stranglehold on conversation that it now exerts–even at Yale. We were allowed to discuss things like the terrible oppression and enslavement of women in Islam. We were allowed to consider that oppression wrong.

At the same time, I was the only woman in the class. There were undercurrents of, first, curiosity: Why would a woman study Arabic? And then there was contempt: She must be an idiot to do so. I skipped class regularly, being unable to deal with it. At that time, being naive, I was unable even to articulate to myself how bad it felt to be the target of such jeering condescension.

I realized years later that I had taken the class because of an archetype whom I admire: Scheherazade, the resourceful and intelligent woman of unending stories. There was something in that archetype for me, who would one day be a prolific novelist. My final project was a translation from “One Thousand and One Nights.” I worked hard on the story and pulled off a “B” despite my spotty attendance record and near inability to speak in class because of the sneers I encountered.

Because I have a background in the topic, I understand what Sam Harris is saying: Many individual Muslims are good people, but the faith itself is based on a book and teachings that directly lead to intolerance, the demeaning and enslavement of women, and violence.

That’s my interpretation of Harris’ message. When he says, “…One can draw a straight line from specific doctrines in Islam to the intolerance and violence we see in the Muslim world” in his blogpost “Can Liberalism Be Saved from Itself?”, Harris is correct. He’s not acting in a racist, Islam-hating way. He’s witnessing a truth that must be uttered.

Now he’s written a post about the defamation campaign to which he has been subjected, “On the Mechanics of Defamation.” His words are being taken out of context and twisted to make him appear evil. It’s dreadful, and the people who are doing it ought to be ashamed.

I have some experience in what it is to be the subject of a smear campaign. Someone from my past has gone to a great deal of trouble to distort everything I have ever done or said to make me out to be a bad person. He is obsessed with his vendetta, and he carries it on while stalking my blog and reading my posts obsessively, at all hours of the night and day, from different locations.

So I have some sympathy for what Harris is going through now, on many levels. He’s telling the truth and being scorned, castigated, and defamed for it.

The thing is, there is no reasoning with malice. Harris is trying to present a rational thesis to irrational people: knee-jerk liberals.

I have never met more close-minded, self-certain, impregnable-to-logic people than knee-jerk liberals. Especially since Obama took office, their sanctimony and self-righteousness has become a bell jar bulwark against any kind of reason or logic.

I voted for Obama the first time. However, I grew disillusioned. I believe in women’s rights, reproductive freedom, gay rights, social justice, and gun control. So far, OK.

But I also believe in citizen privacy, supporting and encouraging small American businesses (not Wall Street and not Socialism), supporting Israel, accountability and oversight for multi-national corporations that function as sovereign nation-states, and getting the Health Insurance companies to pay for universal Health care (not the states).

I also find it extraordinarily hypocritical that Obama’s tactic is to rally people against “the Have’s” when he has taken more vacations, and more expensive vacations, and played more golf, than any president in history. So many of his supporters are the Limousine liberals of Wall Street, which may be why he bailed them out.

Whenever I have been asked by liberals, “Why don’t you like Obama?” I answer with the aforementioned reasons–citizen privacy, etc–the lengthy list of policies and presidential actions with which I do not agree. Inevitably, the liberals tell me, “You are racist.”

I provide a rational explanation that has nothing to do with the pigment in President Obama’s skin, but knee-jerk liberals can’t hear the logic. They reflexively answer with their standard dismissal of all criticism for Obama: “You are racist.”

Racism is a great social evil. It’s as bad as the misogyny in traditional Islam. I stand for the dissolution of racism and misogyny. Yes, I am equating them. Shouldn’t anyone who believes in social justice do so?

Back to Sam Harris. I support his intelligent, reasonable words and I support his right to speak them. I just doubt he’ll get anywhere with them. For one, traditional Muslims don’t want to hear what he’s saying. The many peace-loving, good Muslims are probably a bit ashamed of the intolerance, bigotry, and violence–and they perhaps feel at a loss for what to do about it. After all, the necessary end to an insistence on purity is terrorism, and Islam insists on purity.

For two, knee-jerk liberals can not hear or receive Harris’ message. They are closed and unavailable to discourse. They do not want to do the research and see truthful implications. They are just about solely interested in promoting their own ideology.

But I hope Sam Harris doesn’t give up. I hope he keeps defending himself and stating his views. I support what he says.

Sam Harris

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Bill Maher exposing liberal hypocrisy about Islam

There are many things on which I do not agree with Bill Maher. However, I have wondered for a long time about the issues about which he speaks.

Why do “liberals” throw hissy fits about so many things, but never about the gross human rights violations that are endemic to the Islamic treatment of women?

I think he’s right about Islam, and I’m glad he’s speaking out.

I’m also ashamed of my alma mater Yale for refusing to let a mutilated woman speak about the outrages that were perpetrated on her in the name of Islam.

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Identity Theft

A blog post on Identity Theft.

Someone I know used my name to send a gift to a third party. Then my private email was posted to that transaction. All of this without my foreknowledge.

This person who committed this act is generally a good person–intelligent, well-meaning, generous, well educated.  Deleted: Subsequent actions by this person showed that this person is bat-crap psycho crazy.

But this breaching-of-my-privacy shocked the hell out of me. Not even my husband would sign my name and private email without asking my permission first. He certainly would never impersonate me.

Almost certainly, the person who did this does not know how much I am invested in privacy. That’s one of the reasons I stopped supporting Obama: his big brother NSA scanning my emails just didn’t work for me.

I’m actually shocked that so few people are complaining about Obama’s NSA tactics. HAS NO ONE READ 1984 by George Orwell?????? Here’s what Wikipedia says about that novel:

Nineteen Eighty-Four, sometimes published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by George Orwell published in 1949.[1][2] The novel is set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation, dictated by a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (or Ingsoc in the government’s invented language, Newspeak) under the control of a privileged Inner Party elite that persecutes all individualism and independent thinking as “thoughtcrimes“.[3] “

Substitute “USA” for “Airstrip One” and “racism” for “thoughtcrimes” and you’ve got a near perfect picture of the dystopia we are currently experiencing under the far left.

It is clear to me that the far left and the far right meet in one place: Totalitarianism.

It’s also clear to me that the far left has created the deadlock in our political system. By insisting that anyone who disagrees with Obama’s far left agenda is racist, they’ve given the right no where to go and nothing to lose. It’s so terrible and horrific to be racist that the right is left with no options except to dig in their heels and refuse to negotiate.

I saw “All the way” on Broadway this week, and I was left in awe of LBJ’s effective use of the fine, calculated art of horse trading. He got things done, important things, because he was willing to negotiate.

I won’t talk about his coarseness and vulgarity as a human being because I have a soft spot for those sorts, anyway.

Unfortunately, the far left has prevented negotiation in our political system by insisting that anyone who does not believe as they do is a bad person (racist).

Even as recently as this week, someone asked me what I would have preferred Obama do while in office. I gave a well-thought-out and coherent answer, which included: 1, going after the Health Insurance companies instead of the states; 2, reining in the NSA and ensuring citizen privacy; 3, supporting the growth and wellbeing of American small businesses instead of foisting wealth redistribution on the struggling middle class; 4, regulating and TAXING large, multi-national corporations that function as sovereign nation-states without accountability or oversight; and 5, not bailing out Wall Street, or if he had to because he is a liar and a corporate pimp of the sleaziest variety, then sending the CEO’s of Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs TO JAIL.

Naturally, the specter of racism came up. The far left simply can not grasp the concept that people who are NOT racists would want different policies than the appalling socialist ones Obama has instituted. And in that failure, they, the far left, have created the current deadlock.

Nothing is getting done, no horse trading is accomplishing anything, because the far left has given themselves a monopoly on the high ground. It’s a big political mistake.

Back to my personal issue. The company from whom the gift was ordered did not know, and could not know, that I was not the person ordering the gift. It’s hard to know who is who on the internet. Anyone could pretend to be me.

But to have someone I know pretend to be me? Shocking. Horrifying.

And it led me to think about people who experience far more than I do–people who are the victims of the kind of identity theft that costs them cold, hard cash and then time and energy to straighten out. My heart goes out to those people. I had a small taste of what they feel, and it’s not good.

Method Writing
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Method Writing

My husband told me last night that I was “method writing.”

I was posing for Sabin, as I do several nights a week. He’s sculpting a bust of me and at this point I am convinced that the work will never end. It’s been a year and a half and he tells me there’s still a lot to do before he closes the piece.

Maybe it’s just that he’s never had a free model before, so he’s finishing the sculpture to a level he always wanted, but could never before indulge in?

Anyway, I was wiggly and introspective last night, unable to focus on the television and hold the pose. My face kept moving and changing in thought, my fingers fluttered, and I pulsed up and down my spine like a jack-in-the-box. I simply could not summon my usual discipline.

“It’s this book you’re writing,” Sabin said, in a matter-of-fact tone. “You’re method writing.”

It’s true that I write from the inside of a story and that I am writing a very dark novel set during World War II. It weighs on my heart. I have been walking around the house muttering to myself, inquiring of myself about the nature of good and evil, man’s inhumanity to man, and the role of a good God in a world filled with corruption, vice, cruelty, and genocide.

The days that I research the Geheime Staatspolizei, familiarly known as the Gestapo, are not pleasant. For me, writing is an arachnid process: I pull stories out of my gut. Writing historical novels requires painstaking research, which I love to do. But to take in the information I need about the Nazi Secret State Police, I have to internalize things that are probably better left unconsumed, undisturbed.

But if I don’t do it, who will? I believe that novelists have a duty to their readers to metabolize and transform information; a historical novelist has to make the past fresh and relevant.

Else we repeat the past, right?

The problem is that the genocide of Jews and the murder of gypsies, homosexuals, and Poles during the second world war wasn’t the only genocide of the 20th century.

And evil is still afoot: think about the abducted girls in Nigeria. Boko Haram extremists took more than 200 girls from their school. I can not imagine how their families feel. Holocaust survivors can.

The necessary end to an insistence on purity is terrorism. Whether that purity concerns Aryan blood or Sharia law, it must needs end in terrorism.