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By Tom Nichols, November 1, 2022
A Spreading Cancer
It might seem late in the game to point to any one event as a final or conclusive moment in the decline of the Republican Party. And I have no doubt that if the GOP returns to power this winter, its worst members will find new ways to appall decent people while gamboling about in jester’s bells for its base. (As my Atlantic colleague Adam Serwer has put it so well, “The cruelty is the point.”)
But the reaction among Republican elected officials and their conservative-media life-support system to the beating of Paul Pelosi—by a man named David DePape, who was charged with attempting to kidnap Speaker Nancy Pelosi and admitted to planning to torture her—feels different.
I am not alone; my friend Mona Charen, among others, also senses that this event marks a new level of depravity in the GOP. I have struggled for a few days to decide why, exactly, this moment seems like an inflection point.
In terms of actual damage, January 6 was far worse than one violent crime in San Francisco. Republican leaders—and here I will leave aside Donald Trump, who is in a class of hideousness all by himself—have said far worse things over the past five years. But a parade of Republicans somehow think that an unhinged, hammer-wielding intruder putting an old man in the ICU is funny.
By Clay Skipper, October 19, 2022
At 63, George Saunders, a one-time geophysical engineer who emerged, in middle age, as perhaps America’s most celebrated fiction writer, finds himself navigating questions about who he really is. “There’s so many different selves bouncing around and they come to the microphone at different times,” he said recently, over the phone from his house in California. “At this point in my life, I look back and go, okay, what was the self that I most liked? And how did I encourage that self to come forward? And when am I at my worst? And why does that person show up? That idea that our moral presence in the world has to do with urging these better selves forward.”
This question of evolving selves is one of the threads holding together the stories in Saunders’s newest collection, Liberation Day. As in his past collections—including CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Tenth of December, a finalist for the National Book Award—his characters often find themselves inhabiting absurd fantasy worlds (this time around those include an underground amusement park, a dystopian human entertainment system, and a dark political protest organization) while navigating an all-too-real question: Why do we so often fail to be our best selves?
October 19, 2022 by Cary O’Dell
Eighty-three years ago, on October 19, 1939, the Capra classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” had its debut in–where else?–Washington, DC. Named by the Librarian of Congress to the Library’s National Film Registry in 1989, “Mr. Smith” is, for better or worse, as timely today as it ever was. In the essay below, the late film scholar Robert Sklar looks back at one of America’s greatest films.
In the late 1930s, more securely atop the pinnacle of American cinema than the Hollywoodland sign, Frank Capra could afford to be bold. Over a five–year span he had won three Academy Awards as best director, for “It Happened One Night” (1934), “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” (1936) and “You Can’t Take It With You” (1938). The First and last of these titles had also been picked as best picture. In 1939 he ended a four–year term as Academy president and assumed leadership of the new Screen Directors Guild. Ambitious and apparently unassailable, he was able to launch a project that others had tried but failed to get off the ground: a controversial story involving corruption in the United States Senate, released in 1939 as “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
Years later, in his 1971 autobiography “The Name Above the Title,” Capra related a tale about a visit he supposedly received, when he had fallen ill follow[sic] his first Academy Award, from a mysterious “little man … completely bald, wearing thick glasses” who admonished him to his artistry for higher purposes than screwball comedy. “Mr. Deeds” was the first of the more serious endeavors that followed. Then came, among others, “Mr. Smith,” “Meet John Doe” (1941) and “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946). These are among the most honored and cherished works in America’s film heritage. Yet they also strike many viewers as ambiguous and troubling.
Among Hollywood’s most significant filmmakers, Capra’s reputation is surely the most contested. His four major titles on political and social themes – “Deeds,” “Smith,” “Doe,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” – are instantly recognizable for similarities of style, story, and character that, taken together, add up to a unique signature. What some call “Capraseque,” however, others not so flatteringly label “Capricorn.” The films feature naïve, small–town idealists fighting against the ruthless power of political machines, media barons, capitalist predators, and urban elites. Defeated and humiliated, these over-matched innocents are rescued by the moral might on an aroused community, but the otherwise powerless little people whose united support acclaims the downcast heroes as natural leaders. Uplifting and sentimental, Capra’s political films seem to offer a consoling myth of national character that has captivated audiences over generations. At the same time, they’ve been attacked as conformist, demagogic, manipulative, phony.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…
The late Robert Sklar was a member of the National Film Preservation Board as well as a film scholar and author of the 1975 book “Movie-Made America.”
Don’t hesitate to contact Ask a Librarian (//ask.loc.gov/) about the availability of materials or any other items in our collections. Before you plan to come in and view any collection items, please get in touch with our reference staff in the Moving Image Research Center (//www.loc.gov/rr/mopic/).
The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Congress.
Published Fri, Oct 14 202212:05 PM EDT, Updated Fri, Oct 14 20221:24 PM EDT
Despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to get the cost of living under control, prices just keep climbing — and the uptick is especially brutal at the supermarket.
The cost of food overall climbed 11.2% in September from the year before, according to the latest consumer price index data released Thursday. Prices of “food at home,” aka groceries, soared 13% from the same time in 2021.
Many of the hardest-hit items are ones most families can’t do without: Eggs are up 30.5% from a year ago, while poultry is up 17.2% and milk 15.2%.
Still, there are a number of strategies you can use to reduce your food costs, experts say. Here are some of them.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…