These are the days of spooks and goblins, ghosts and ghouls. Days when spirits cross between worlds and ban-sidhe wails ride the winds. Perfect time to stir the embers of nightmares: binge on horror flicks, attend a séance, visit a haunted house. Court the monsters of the shadows and the things that go bump in the night.
Long ago, when our ancestors huddled together in fire-warmed caves, just living was a frightful proposition. In the darkness lurked bears and lions, serpents and birds of prey, all much larger and fiercer than their modern kin. And, most frightening of all, there were Dragons.
Rightly or wrongly, they haunted ancient dreams and struck terror in primeval hearts. It’s an understandable turn of events in a draconically unenlightened world. Even today, though our interspecies relations are at a passing level of détente, I know a Dragon or two who still get quite kick out of giving us humans the shivers.
Lately, though, the Dragons of the world have themselves been shivering. Not since the Dark Times has their world been in such turmoil. It is only fitting, then, to ask what gives Dragons nightmares?
What can make these near-invincible, sentient, apex-predators toss and turn, tremble and quake? Sadly, the answer is what it’s always been: Humans.
Ignorant, selfish, careless Humans. Puny, thin-skinned, myopic Humans who put self-preservation on hold in place of short-term greed that would put Smaug to shame.
Over the past year, certain two-legged powers that be have been systematically undermining science and learning, dismantling efforts to combat climate change,and putting the future of the planet and all its inhabitants at risk. (The loss of 40,000 Adélie penguin chicks this year brings tears draconic eyes. “Don’t you see what you’re doing?” they demand. “Even if you have no care for others’ hatchlings, can you have so little for your own?”)As Humans have escalated tribalism, internecine conflicts, and weaponized pissing contests to the brink of world-wide cataclysm, courtesy, truthfulness, even basic human decency have become as rare as a snallygaster in New York.
“This isn’t politics,” the Dragons insist. “We have no use for politics, or religion, or any of your sillinesses. This is survival. Yours and ours.”
In the past, of course, Dragons had a distinct advantage over us hapless humans. They could always fade into the mists, bide their time until cooler heads prevailed. They did this during the worst of the Dark Times and survived. But then we two-legs lived, died, and killed on a local scale. Now we’ve gone global and even the misty realms are endangered.
“Destruction is so easy. We should know.But where we have learned, you have not. At the end of the day, who will be left rise from the ashes of your irresponsible stupidity? Who will be here to restore the wonders, the lives you’ve ruined? And many of you don’t even believe we are here. Is it any wonder we fear for our very existence?
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald warned of the type of arrogant humans who now run roughshod through the world:
“They were careless people,… they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”
They are the disasters waiting to happen; the Monsters of our modern world. They lurk beyond Dragon-fire and are fought in draconic dreams.
From jk over at Off the Rails & the Secret Keeper. Another fight we can’t afford to lose.
The Fight has begun again to save #NetNeutrality. Our present government. [The Trump White House and all its cronies] (what a joke . they are the thieves in the night) they are trying to role back time and destroy the conclusive FCC determination in 2015 to proclaim protection of #NetNeutrality. And once again Trump is going after the destruction of another Obama initiative . this time #NetNeutrality . a protection which opens up the free use of the Internet by all . not just overstuffed conglomerates who want to rule the world with their greed and shut down the voices who want to expose the Truth of what is happening in the world. – j.kiley
The Open Internet rules put in place by the FCC in 2015 are based upon a solid legal framework that has been sustained by the courts. The FCC Net Neutrality rules effectively safeguard the open…
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Great post from the secret keeper. We ARE stronger together.
As J.K. Rowling’s rich allegory reminds us, intolerance is an inner battle.
Tagline from this short film. What is written below the video follows the same path.
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Extremely important message carried throughout this short film and throughout J.K. Rowling’s writing and her lack of fear facing up to the bullies who aren’t brave enough to be the opposite of ‘Mean.’
For those Potterheads (like myself) . and for those not involved in this world . it makes no difference . the message needs to be heard . Beware of the Danger surrounding our world . it is Real as Real Can Be .
I am a member of The Resistance . being vigilant . not allowing myself to be hypnotized by the spewing rhetoric of the alt-right & the influences not-my-president is receiving from…
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In a world that has felt crazy and out of control for a while now, it is a true delight to know that there are women in the world like the radiant Viola Davis and the incomparable Meryl Streep. Their words from this year’s Golden Globe Awards are both touching and eloquent. Faced with the reality into which we are all about to be plunged, Meryl Streep’s words resonate profoundly. They bear listening to and repeating again and again.
So, we’ve gone full-tilt down the rabbit hole and are entering a frightening time when a host of terrible things are possible. Indeed, some are fearful that a return of the Dark Times is just around the corner.
Here at the Nest, we want everyone to know: this is a SAFE SPACE.
For one and all. Now and always.
As most regular visitors to the Nest know, Dragons have very little use for human politics. Oh, now and then, when concerns over habitat protection and civil rights are part of the mix, sure. In that respect, they’re like a lot of us: politics, in the end, being local and personal.
So, on this Guy Fawkes’ Day, let’s get personal.
Now, US public schools teach scant English history, so for many Americans Guy Fawkes is some noble figure appropriated by the wonderfully anti-totalitarian film, V for Vendetta, and, subsequently, by the activist group, Anonymous. Being a radical anti-fascist myself, this is an invigorating association. Sadly, it’s a leap of fancy rather than fact. (Anyone who likes a bit of classy Brit-drama with their history should check out the 2-part series, Gunpowder, Treason, & Plot on Netflix. Excellent acting and not too biased.)
But let me return to the personal politics of our time.
Despite what the media, with their desire for ratings and a horse race, would have us believe, the Republican and Democratic candidates are not flip sides of the same, terrible coin. In fact, the candidates, their intelligence, experience, temperaments, and platforms could not be more different.
The Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, is a woman who, as lawyer, First Lady of Arkansas and then the country, senator, and Secretary of State, has spent her adult life in service to the people of this nation. She has fought for women and children, the poor and the middle class, the underprivileged and the working people of this country. She is smart to the point of being a policy wonk, and treats friends and foes alike with respect. She is prepared to be President, and, unlike her opponent, she understands that it is a job for which one needs to prepare, especially in an increasingly complex geopolitical world.
She understands how the government works and, when she was a part of it, got glowing reviews from both sides of the aisle. She understands and respects the Constitution. For 20 years, she was viewed as the most admired woman in American. Until she started running for President, of course. Suddenly, over-night, the media and right-wing opposition turned her into the devil in a blue pantsuit. Amazing.
She believes in science – I know, this shouldn’t be a thing in 2016, but sadly, it is. She knows that climate change is real and must be addressed for the sake of the planet. Her fiscal policies continue building on the progress we’ve made over the past 8 years, addressing economic inequities and investing in the country’s people and infrastructure. (Even though she has targeted Wall St., they are far more assured by the prospect of HRC as President than her opponent.)
She respects a woman’s right to choose, LGBTQ rights to marry, and understands that the problem between citizens and the police in this country will not be solved with more militarized “law and order” but with a judicial system based on equality and fairness regardless of race, creed, nationality, or sexual orientation. True, she is a little more hawkish than I would like, but she understands the way the world works and the need for supporting and working with our allies.
In the realm of politics, where hyperbole and exaggeration can easily run amok, she’s been found to be by far the most honest, truthful candidate of either party for the whole campaign season – including the primaries. (Facts, of course, tend to have a liberal bias, so this is not often reported by Republican mouthpieces like Fox News and the Drudge Report.)
She is not perfect – what candidate is? She has a reputation for being guarded, almost secretive, at times. Yet, after 30 years of being hounded and investigated by the opposition for every little sneeze – and found nothing – who among us would be different? At least, when she makes mistakes, she acknowledges them and learns from them.
Hillary Clinton is a candidate who can make long overdue history as the first woman President of this country. Her gifts may not include either the soaring oratory of President Obama, or the folksy charm of her husband. But almost everyone who has worked with her, regardless of party affiliation, sings her praises. She is a decent human being who cares about her fellow human beings. She will keep us safe and protect our rights – yes, even those 2nd Amendment rights some are so convinced they will lose. She will represent the United States to the world with intelligence, empathy, and grace.
On the other side, we have a man who is an ego-maniacal bully with a fourth-grade vocabulary and zero experience or interest in governing. Despite his boasts of great personal sacrifice, he’s not served his country in any way, shape, or form. This is a candidate whose grasp of the Constitution is thread-thin at best. He believes that, once he is President, he can unilaterally: overturn treaties – including the Paris agreement on climate change (because, hell, climate change is a liberal and Chinese hoax); fire all the generals and admirals (he knows more than they do, anyway); change the libel laws to strangle the First Amendment; deport millions of immigrants; instigate a religious/cultural test for citizenship; roll back LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, and civil rights; throw his political opponent in jail in the manner of a tin-pot, third-world dictator (who needs evidence or a trial, just lock her up); and bomb our enemies into oblivion. That he actually asked why we have nuclear weapons if we’re not going to use them displays a depth of ignorance that is staggering! And then he insists the whole election is rigged and he’ll have to consider accepting the orderly transition of power upon which our nation is founded should he lose. So much for the Constitution.
He is a man with such a pathological relationship with the truth that fact-checkers find over 70% of what he says is divorced from reality. Despite what he says there is no voter fraud, the unemployment rate is not 45%, our military is not a shambles, Mexico will not pay for his wall, and he does not know more about ISIL than the generals. He boasts of his business acumen as a reason to vote for him, yet he’s filed for bankruptcy 6 times. He says he’s charitable, yet his charity amounts to taking credit for giving away other people’s money, not having donated to his own foundation in over 8 years. He says he will be good for middle America, yet has stiffed American workers over and over again, while lining his own pockets with millions. He manufactures his products overseas and uses Chinese steel in his buildings, then blames HRC for not making him do the right thing when she was a senator (one of 100 – such tricky, inconvenient things, numbers, facts, and government). What his accountants were able to do with the tax code is positively obscene to say the very least – he says it’s smart which makes the rest of us who do our part, what? Schmucks? (And yes, it’s his accountants who understand the tax code, not the candidate. He just signed the forms.)
His narcissistic need for approval is such that he will embrace the praise of dictators, white supremacists, anti-Semites, racists, and xenophobes. Like a carnival barker, he hawks fear and scapegoating in a way that would not be out of place in the Weimar Republic.
He treats veterans, the disabled, minorities, and women with a deplorable lack of respect. He has boasted of being able to assault women, then dismissed his words as “locker-room talk.” And yes, make no mistake, kissing someone without their permission, grabbing them by the “pussy” – or anywhere else for that matter – is sexual assault. He then threatens anyone who speaks their truth with legal action. He wants to be the face of our nation to the world, yet is a man every parent should worry about leaving alone with their daughters.
His economic plans would send us tumbling back into recession (or worse), his health-care plan would make millions uninsured, and his foreign posturing – it can’t even be called policy – would alienate our allies and embolden our foes.
This is the Republican candidate. As George R.R. Martin, a man who knows something about Dragons and politics said, “You don’t need to like Hillary. You don’t need to listen to what Hillary says about Trump, or what I say about Trump. You just need to listen to Trump. If you can do that, and still consider voting for him… well…”
If you’ve made it this far you know it would be disingenuous of me to say I don’t care who you vote for. I would love to see the Democrats take the White House and the Senate and be able to really do something without blind opposition.
The FBI has already been caught trying to tip the scales, as has Russia and Wikileaks. This is not a time to toss your democratic right – your democratic responsibility into the dumpster.
THIS IS OUR FUTURE, OUR KIDS’ AND GRANDKIDS’ FUTURES.
It is not a time to wallow in a media narrative of false candidate equivalencies and lessers of two evils. They’re not. It is not a time to get complacent because the pollsters say it’s a virtual done-deal. It isn’t. It’s also, with all due respect, not a time for a protest vote. HRC may not be Bernie. But Bernie’s not on the ballot. And Clinton is a hell of a lot closer to him than either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, and much more fit to be president. Make no mistake: a protest vote is a vote for the Republican.
Tuesday – or before, if you are able – go to the polls. Think carefully about who you want to be the face of our nation for the next 4 years. Who you want comforting the nation when the next Hurricane Katrina hits or the next Ferguson or Newtown. Who will care about all Americans regardless of race, creed, sex, or sexual orientation. Regardless of how fat their wallets or fawning their praise. Hold to hope, not fear. Don’t be intimidated or deterred. Use your heads and hearts – swear a little if you want – and vote.
If we can all do that, I think – please Great Dragon! – we’ll be ok.
It is the time for light-weight summer movies. Mild diversions to fill a couple of air-conditioned hours in uncomfortable seats for outrageous prices. (Don’t touch the popcorn, it will kill you!) Hey, nothing wrong with that. When it’s 90+ degrees outside and your brain is on a low simmer, most of us aren’t looking for mind blowing cinema that digs deep and lingers long after we leave the theatre.
That said, I am always thrilled when I come upon a film that stands apart and challenges the stereotypical summer fare. Joon-ho Bong’s new film, Snowpiercer, seems to be that film.
Joon-ho Bong is a South Korean film maker of rare and growing skill. His first film, The Host, is a marvel of a monster movie, that takes the whole genre and tips it on its head.
He followed that with Mother, a powerful, very human story of a mother’s titanic efforts to prove her son is innocent of murder.
Now comes Snowpiercer.
Based on a 1982 graphic novel by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, it is dystopian, prescient, and boasts one hell of a cast. (Anything with Tilda Swinton in it is worth the price of admission, imho.) And getting rave reviews across the country – not that reviews are everything.
I don’t know if Snowpiercer will make it to the theatre in my tiny corner of the world or if I’ll have to wait until it comes out on disc, but either way, I can’t wait.