Off Topic, Again

Okay, I played hooky.  When I should have been retesting the perfume I was in the middle of writing about I decided on the spur of the moment to go see “The Help”.  I’d written about the book at PST a while ago when I wondered how well they’d adapt it to a movie.  They did an excellent job, not shying away from the fact that for some of these women the South in the 60’s was hell.

I do know people who say that they yearn for the good old days when things moved slower and people were nicer to each other and things were so much cheaper, and to an extent I get it.  I wish I was living in a time where a middle-class income would buy you a house in Southern California that was within 100 miles of work, where if you did your job you had it for as long as you want without it being sent off to Texas or South America or New Hebrides so the company wouldn’t have to show a year with no growth or a trip to the ER for a broken arm wasn’t an expense that might mean you go homeless.

On the other hand, as this movie matter-of-factly reminds us, “colored” people had to use separate everything (in one section of the book a black man is beaten almost to death for having used an unmarked “whites only” water fountain) and were sometimes treated as little more than moderately intelligent livestock by their employers.  Even the privileged white people were shackled by societies idea of male and female role models.  I could have been fired or denied housing or run of town simply because of my sexuality at that time.  The cars may look cool and the perfumes had oomph but I have no nostalgia for that era or frankly any of the ones that came after that I actually lived through.  Twenty years from now if I’m still breathing I’ll have little nostalgia for this previous decade.  There were some definite high points, but 9/11, Prop 8 and the great recession will be remembrance of things that I will be glad to have passed.

I have nostalgia for certain things like dial telephones, Coke in 6 oz glass bottles, burning leaf piles.  Luckily I can still get the former two and Chris Brosius does an incredible simulacrum of the latter (whew, got some perfume in there after all!!).  Time periods, not so much.

If you have nostalgia for things from the past, whether yours or not, I’d love to discuss in the comments.  Do see the movie, it’s wonderful.  Take a friend and bring kleenex.

  • EdCade says:

    I’ve been growing awhile in soil and wanted to move more to hydroponic gardening given that winter is coming up. I put together a list of stuff I need to get, but since I’m new I thought there may be individuals who can advise some great items. Here is what I came up with so far –

    Ebb & Flow tray kit from Viagrow
    Digital lighting ballast from Lumatek
    Lighting hood from Raptor
    Hydroponic Nutrients from X Nutrients



  • Divalano says:

    How nice to stop back here after months away & find intelligent dialogue and progressive thinking! Huzzah!!

    I’m nostalgic for the music we danced to in NY punk clubs in the 80s but not the 80s, & not the clubs. I’m nostalgic for good pizza joints, all over NYC. And egg creams. I’m nostalgic for real neighborhoods & mom ‘n pop shops, instead of the prefab mallification of everything. And yes, dial phones.

    I grew up in the 70s in a multi-culti blue collar ‘hood. We coexisted, we hung out together; and we also had haters, sure. And we had liberals, like me. We had racism, but no one ever died of it. My husband grew up in the South & he’s got memories of his own fights & abuse by racist bullies. When we visited his dad, driving outside of Panama City he said, “Just a few years back you didn’t drive through here, wasn’t safe.” He meant, the Klan shot blacks for driving in some places. We won’t live in the South. Likewise, I won’t live up in Harlem; I feel just as at risk holding my black husband’s hand up there as I do in the deep South. Racists come in all colors.

    Now, about those dial phones, and pre-reformulation Guerlains at every dept store beauty counter … ;)

  • jen says:

    OK, but you did say villified for being a Christian.

  • tammy says:

    My parents and grandparents were polar opposites of hippies.

    They were and are in fact the kind of patriotic, gun-toting, flag-wavin’, Bible-thumpin’, redneck hillbillies the media and government is always warning you about. We didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing til I was about 12.

    My paternal grandfather, who survived the Bataan Death March, not only welcomed my cousin’s Japanese wife in to the family with great joy, but asked that their first baby be named after him, which is how his first born grandchild came to rejoice in the name of Yumiko Benjamina Franklin. Only in America, my friends, and probably only in Appalachia.

    My maternal grandmother had to live up north for a while to find for work. She was able to start a little business embroidering uniforms for local sports teams, and was always a great believer in women being independent, so she decided to teach some of the little girls in the area to embroider, so they could earn money, too. Some of those little girls were black and her house was burned to the ground as a consequence. This was in New York State.

    Coming as I do from the last culture on Earth it is still perfectly okay to vilify (indeed the vilification is encouraged at all levels by so-called tolerant people everywhere), I do find myself nostalgic for some things from the past.

    I am nostalgic for the days when one wasn’t sneered at, looked down on, mocked and made fun of for being a Christian, not that it matters to me personally, because I am not ashamed of it, but it does irk to hear various oh-so-tolerant types suggesting that all Christians are ignorance and evil personified, while making every possible excuse for the whack jobs of other religions.

    I am nostalgic for the days when one could stroll down the streets of San Francisco without being spat on and called a breeder by certain denizens of that city who are constantly proclaiming themselves to be bastions of tolerance.

    After being shoved down into my truck in the parking lot of a grocery store in broad daylight and having my dress, bra and panties cut off of me with a machete, I was indeed deeply nostalgic for a day when I would not have been berated by the Los Angeles policewoman for trying to make it a race issue when I described my assailant as having a Spanish accent and a Virgin of Guadalupe tattoo. I was also nostalgic for the state in which I was reared, where, had I shot this SOB, I would not have been arrested myself for using a gun when he only had a knife.

    I am nostalgic for the day I could fly an American flag off my front porch without being approached by a group of my neighbors who asked me to remove it, as it might be offensive to some of our other neighbors, who believe California was stolen from them.
    (As I am 1/16th Mingo, and have no respect for this kind of whining, my response was neither Christian nor tolerant; it started with F and ended in You.)

    As was mentioned above, not all Southerners are racist pigs, and racial animosity is alive and well everywhere. Yumi’s father is a fireman; they live in Boston, and he is shocked at how segregated the department is. I moved to SoCal in the late 80s, and it was almost a year before I saw a black person. I live in Orange County now, I can go weeks without seeing black folks, although we’re very diverse in other cultures.

    We’ve got a long way to go, but I think this is a beautiful time to be alive, and I am grateful to be here.

    • jen says:

      Not to argue, cause you sound sincere, but I think gay people are probably the last picked on group, along with people of color. Christians are the majority in the U.S., and all presidents have to say God bless America to get by; not a perecuted minority as far as I can see..

      • tammy says:

        I wasn’t referring to Christians as the group that is vilified. I was referring to hillbillies. And I didn’t mean that they were persecuted, merely that it is still perfectly okay to make fun of them. If you want to crack jokes about tobacco-chewing, incestuous, banjo picking, toothless hillbillies, you can do so without worrying about anyone calling you out on your bigotry.

        If you want to talk about persecution on a large scale, there is no group in history who have ever been persecuted to the extent that Jews have been, and yet I find they are by far the least prejudice of any people I have ever met. We could all learn from them, but we don’t.

        It’s pretty sad, but still I have hope. Mankind is good at its core; we just have to keep fighting this sort of thing, as Tom said, one corner and grocery store line at a time.

    • Tom says:


      I’m sorry that you were treated poorly by those people. Perceived class distinctions might be the last frontier after the gays and the overweight. Being vilified for being a Christian is as bad as being vilified for being Muslim, Gay, Jewish, Hillbilly or anything else. Christianity is about love for your fellow man last time I checked.

      And if you ever come across some a$$hat who calls you a breeder, please point out to them that without you “breeders” they wouldn’t exist. :x

      • Ann says:

        Hear, hear, Tom! I’d forgotten about bias against the overweight. It does seem to be one of the last frontiers of acceptable prejudice. I’ve heard heavy people mocked openly, and referred to as unintelligent, lazy and even dirty.

  • Alice C says:

    I grew up in the South and still live here (in a very small town). I remember the signs in stores and restaurants, separate waiting rooms, balconies at movies, etc. I remember asking my parents what the sign meant one day. I just didn’t know any different. My school district was desegregated when I was in junior high. It was a tense time-it was violent for a month or so at our high school in the beginning. My husband, too, is a Southerner-we have evolved, but many are still racist here; it is simply less out in the open. The N word is still used by many (not around us-as our friends know better now-but we had to tell them it was not acceptable around us or our children). Society here is very self segregating. Our church (Presbyterian) has predominately white membership, but does have African American members (one family who moved here from out of town)–however, this is NOT common here in a ‘mainstream’ church. To have African Americanccccccccc friends in this small town, you must go out of your way-which almost seems racist as well.:-? (I must go out and cultivate some black friends…)

    My husband is an elected official (a judge). Everyone is treated with respect and dignity in his court, which has not gone unnoticed in this little community. The ‘good ole boy’ system (especially the police department) is not too happy with him (he actually makes the prosecutors prove their cases), but the African American leaders around here have let it be known that everyone gets a fair shake in his court. We’ve come a long way, but not nearly far enough.

    I do not long for the ‘way it used to be’, but would like to see simpler times, where everyone could just get along, where everyone valued education and bettering themselves. It seems that our current political leaders are pushing fear and hatred for political gain rather than true progress.

    I read and loved the book. Hope the movie does it justice.

  • Amy K says:

    I’m nostalgic for my old 1980s Midwestern neighborhood where kids were allowed to roam freely between houses while it was still light outside, and parents didn’t feel the need to keep track of them every second. There was virtually no crime, and no video games to keep kids indoors. We were all skinny and tan and dirty and happy. I’m sorry that my own daughter won’t get to experience the same sort of carefree, free-range childhood.

    And even though I didn’t experience it myself, I’m nostalgic for the food of years past. Mass-produced food is so incredibly tasteless compared to the real thing. My husband and I joined an organic farm co-op a few years ago, and when my 92-year-old grandfather tried some of the vegetables he got a little misty-eyed. “This is what food used to taste like when I was a child,” he said quietly. We’re so used to our processed products and high-yield Monsanto hothouse crops and our meats being created out of unnatural animal feed and pumped full of God-knows-what that we’ve forgotten what food is supposed to taste like. Of course, I’m not nostalgic for the times when women were expected to stay home and devote hours per day to creating delicious meals out of these superior components.

    • Tom says:

      I’ll add food to my list of stuff. I am glad that I can get heirloom tomatoes, I just wish the other ones weren’t so completely without taste.

  • Disteza says:

    I’m going to take a different bent on this. I’m nostalgic for the 90’s, when technology was shiny and new, but hadn’t usurped people’s lives to the point that they stopped *actually* doing things. Case in point: I went out to a dance club 2 Saturdays ago, to an all ages dance party. Most of the underage folks were standing around texting, or taking videos of the couple of older folks like myself who were dancing. They come up to me “That’s so cool–what’s your facebook so I can post this?” Sweaty Me: “I’m not on facebook.” Them: “….”
    Seriously, the rise of the Eloi has come about in less than 20 years. I think I’ll take my butt underground with the rest of the Morlocks–I hear it keeps your skin looking fantastic to stay out of all that sun.

    • Tom says:

      How can I not love a “Time Machine” reference?

      • Disteza says:

        Ya know, if you caught the reference you’re headed underground too! But here’s a little more to cheer your day:

        “For countless years … there had been no danger of war or solitary violence, no danger from wild beasts, no wasting disease to require strength of constitution, no need of toil. For such a life, what we should call the weak are as well equipped as the strong, are indeed no longer weak. Better equipped indeed they are, for the strong would be fretted by an energy for which there was no outlet… This has ever been the fate of energy in security; it takes to art & to eroticism, & then come languor & decay.”

  • jen says:

    Im not nostalgic for my first working days, when men could put their hands on you (school principal) and if you knocked it off you, they would say, cant you take a joke? so men molesting you ar work was a joke? Really. Im only nostalgic for the days when I weighed 120# and good perfume was sold in drug stores.

  • Gail S says:

    I can’t say that I’m nostalgic for any particular time that I’ve lived through, or any earlier times. Really, the only things I miss are the people I’ve lost over the years. I regret especially that my daughter didn’t get to experience summers on the farm with my grandparents like I did.

    I know that racism is still very prevalent in the minds of many, although these days it has more targets so maybe it’s more generalized than specific. In my area, Caucasians are no longer the majority, Hispanics are the largest population group. There’s a lot of disgruntlement among lots of people, but it’s harder to get away with racism when there’s more of “them” around than there are of your own ethnic group.

    One last note, I’m not convinced that there’s all that much more violence now than there was back in the 50’s, 60’s or whenever. With the advent of 24-hr news programming and the internet, everything is reported in soooo much more detail now and is so much more available that we’re aware of violent crimes like we’ve never been before in history.

    • Disteza says:

      You’re right–violence has always permeated human society. It’s just our mental proclivity to overlook the negative and concentrate on the past in our memories that makes it seem different. We’re still just as capable of being angry, poo-flingy monkeys now as we were 40,000 years ago.

  • Teri says:

    I grew up in a Midwestern university town, the kind with streets lined with those big old elm trees that spanned the pavement and provided a permanent green shade in the summer (those I really do miss). My neighbors were families from all over the world, as is often the case in university towns. My playmates were a virtual rainbow of skin colors and a virtual UN of cultural backgrounds.
    The only prejudice I was exposed to in those years was a mild prejudice against the undereducated. I was taught that diversity was a learning opportunity, not a dividing force.

    It was only when I left home to attend college that I encountered prejudice in its uglier forms. It was also my first exposure to the ‘birds of a feather’ homogeneity of the suburban Caucasian or the urban Black. Fortunately for me, it was the ’70s and free spirits were tolerated if not admired. For instance, I was ‘permitted’ to invite my black friend Pam and my Jewish friend Sharon over to my sorority house, but they were received with icy politeness or completely ignored. It wasn’t long before I stopped inviting them over — not because I cared about the snubs, but because I felt it was wrong to impose that upon them. I didn’t stop spending time with them, I just didn’t do it at the house. In retrospect, I probably was caving to social pressures, at least in part.

    We really have come a long way, though. I can recall my mother telling me that both sides of the family – bride and groom – boycotted my parents’ wedding because my father was Catholic and my mother was Protestant. Such things simply weren’t done in good families in mid-century Iowa. Thankfully, as years passed, both sets of parent grow to accept and truly like one another, but it took a lot of time and effort to get to that place.

    I miss the freedom I had as a child. My mother would shoo me out the door on summer mornings after I’d completed my piano practice and didn’t expect to see me again until dinner time. I could ride anywhere and everywhere on my bike, never needing helmets, pads, or other safety gear. In fact, I often rode barefoot. I always had activities to do, but none of them were scheduled nor did they require someone to drive me. I was independent and safe being so. I’ve often felt so sorry that my son didn’t have the same type of freedom, but by the time he came along, that kind of freedom was no longer safe for children.

    • Musette says:


      Where I now live (a little rural town in Central IL) it’s like that throwback to your childhood (and certainly my own). My house is away but one from our local park and kids ride their bikes to and fro, unaccompanied by fretting adults, all the time – ‘play dates’ are largely unheard of and protective gear is highly optional….kids riding down to the river to fish for tadpoles, etc – very Mayberry. It’s size (1400) and isolation (nearest large town (13K) is 25 miles away, through woods and cornfields) means that it’s pretty easy to maintain that retro feeling. The Midwest is full of little towns like this.

      Of course, this type of lifestyle comes with its own challenges. It is a very homogeneous group, which means these kids are in for the shock of their lives when/if they go outside the community (I’ve seen it – it’s sort of sad, watching college kids try to catch up, as their notions of supremacy are destroyed on nearly every academic level)…but for an oldster like me, it is oddly relaxing (even with the more overt misogyny/homophobia/ racism /:)

      xo >-)

    • Tom says:

      I grew up in exactly that sort of town in New England. Do you know what the biggest prejudice was? Not being from there. You could move there from New York and live the rest of you life there and you’d still be considered an outsider.

      My mother was Catholic and father was Episcopalian. She was also the daughter of an Irish immigrant while he was from a family that had been here since the 1600’s. She was also several years older. Tongues wagged.

      • Musette says:


        same here. It served those towns well, back in the day when knowing your neighbors – and their history – was important. Not so much, now – but old habits die hard. The daughter of one of the longtime local families is a Korean adoptee – even though it, apparently, created a bit of a stir 12 years ago, now she, of course, is ‘from here’ since here parents are both ‘from here’ (and cousins, to boot. Yeah, it’s that kinda place) 😉

        xoxo the Obvious >-)

      • Joanna says:

        Tom I think the biggest prejudice in the small town I grew up in and live in now is and was what church you go to. Some of the more right wing churches don’t approve much of Catholics. In college I began dating a guy whom was also from the same hometown. His father is a minister at a very conservative Lutheran church and it was made abundantly clear that his parents did not think highly of him dating a Catholic girl. Seriously, in 1992…it completely blindsided me. That boy eventually broke up with me stating it was because of religous differences but a few years later he came out as being gay. At our class reunion I asked him how his parents reacted to the gay thing and he said they wish he was still dating the Catholic girl. LOL! By the way his father loves him still and didn’t disown him. I know it’s not easy for him to reconcile his religous views with his love for his child but I’m really proud of him for not turning his back.

        It boggles my mind that the world insists on focusing on and fighting about things like sexuality, race and religion still. We have bigger problems and maybe if we stopped looking down our noses at each other we would have more success fixing them.

        • Musette says:

          Oh, Joanna! =))

          I’m =)) because I had a similar experience in undergraduate school. One of my BFFs was a Totally OUT! gay man, from Arkansas. His pop was a big deal in the Southern Christian Leadership council (or something like that – extremely conservative, big-deal multistate church thing). No disowning but LOTS of drama. My friend, who was a bit of a devil, asked me to come down to AR with him and pose as his girlfriend. I was enough of a >:) to do it! He called ahead. They were elated! He’s saaaaaaved!

          SO mean. Poor parents. Poor things. How to choose: totally OUT gay son? Or son-with-girlfriend (he told them he’d proposed – and I accepted, the devilmonkey)……AND SHE’S BLACK!

          poor things. I actually felt sorry for them. ;))

          xo >-)

          • Joanna says:

            Serves them right for not seeing how blessed they were to have a healthy, happy, intelligent child.

    • MJ says:

      My parents were married over 40 years ago (in Detroit, the most segregated city in America (still)) and the Protestant-Catholic issue is STILL a problem in the family. Though they’re all more distracted now by the African-American partners and biracial children of my two cousins (our mutual grandad was one grade A racist and is probably spinning nonstop – heh). I am probably one of few white kids who grew up hearing a litany of complaints from one parent about my frizzy “bad hair” (and how I tanned too dark since nice white people only freckle, I gather) – I feel that this gives me a teeny tiny iota of understanding of the hair issue for Black women (since the standard of beauty is a white, blue eyed blonde with naturally straight and smooth hair, right?) but feel racist suggesting that…

      Shit, it’s a weird world. Might as well smell good in it.

  • Musette says:

    Racism (both the overt, vicious kind as well as garden-variety cluelessness – this includes homophobia which cuts across all racial lines) hasn’t gone anywhere. And, of course, it’s not just limited to blacks/whites. In most areas, it’s masked over by PC behavior, which can be even more irritating sometimes (speaking as a black woman). Where I live now, it’s more overt and compounded by fears of political/religious creed – witness 2 years ago when a white-owned motel in a nearby town was bought by an Indian family – at the time of the sale it was fully occupied by construction workers putting up a huge local project. Within a week all but 1 had moved to a way-less convenient place, saying they would not pay money to “‘sand Ns’ and terrorists” (sage nodding all around)….I actually prefer overt racism, weird as that may sound. At least you know where you stand with those folks.

    Fwiw, I grew up in a bi-racial family in the mid-50s on……very clear racial divides (some potentially fatal to nonwhites, such as Bridgeport neighborhood in Chicago – home to our vaunted Mayor Daley (the original) – with Rule of Law existing for some and not others – same as today.

    For those of you who are working hard to ‘teach your children well’ – here’s hoping there are more of you, with each passing generation.

    xoxo >-)

    • Tom says:

      I cringe when I read some of these stories. Your last sentence I couldn’t agree more with.

      I look at my godchild who is now at college and her friends, all of whom none of this would enter their head and hope.

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Tom. I grew up in a very small town with no racial or cultural diversity and am thankful every day for the exposure to a larger world- view that I had
    through my parents, particularly my mother. Intolerance exists still, without a shadow of a doubt, but more people are speaking up and trying to reverse the tide of prejudice, trying to be voices of moderation in the face of extremism of any variety. I am trying to raise my daughters to evaluate people on the basis of who and not what they are. How you treat other people is such an important measure of the kind of the person you are! I was so heartened when I asked my 4 year old daughter to describe which classmate she was talking about and she said she was ‘ shorter than me, black hair tied back and brown eyes’ I was no closer to determining who she meant as this described several classmates when, after thinking hard and describing her uniform (which if course didn’t help), she exasperatedly said, and ”black skin’. I thought it was great that race didn’t even occur to her as a differentiating characteristic.

    • Ann says:

      I love that, M! I know you’re so proud of her.
      There’s not as much diversity here as I would like, but we’ve had people of other ethnicities over, and he has a little bit of variety, as I like to call it, in his school. I’ve always tried to teach him that people come in a range of colors, shapes and sizes and have different lifestyles, and that it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

    • Tom says:

      That’s a great story; it’s all about the parents. There wasn’t much diversity where I grew up either but my parents were the same way. I clearly remember my father saying once to us when we were kids about who’d we marry that he wouldn’t care if they were “white, black or sky-blue pink” as long as we were happy.

  • Olfacta says:

    Well I always say “anybody who’s nostalgic for the Fifties should have to live in them.” I was raised in the South for the most part. My parents were very progressive for that time and place. I was about 10 in 1962/3, the film’s setting. I remember the separate bathrooms, waiting rooms and so on. And balconies at the movies. But I guess I was fairly well-protected or maybe just naive. At any rate, That Word was never allowed in our house. We moved around, so never had full-time maids like the ones in the film. We had cleaning ladies who would come in a couple of times a week. When their kids got sick, my mom would take them to our doctor (and pay the bill). Just sayin’. Not everyone was a racist pig. This was Atlanta, home of Dr. King, maybe a bit more forward-thinking than Mississippi (ya think?) And, that said, what was the most racially divided city I’ve ever lived in? Los Angeles.

    I saw the movie Saturday. At the end, the audience applauded. I’ve never seen that here.

    Definitely see it, and take a hankie. I hope it starts a dialogue we all need to have again.

    • Tom says:


      One of the things that the book (more so than the movie, which had time constraints) made a point of was that quite a lot of the people in the south who had help treated them extremely well and the horrible people were not the majority.

      Los Angeles is better than it was, but it’s still pretty un-mixed. So much so that it’s almost celebrated. You pass through areas and notice signs reading “Little Armenia”, etc., that the neighborhood asks for. I also read that the 10 freeway follows the “color line” cutoff, but I don’t know if that’s true.

      • Olfacta says:

        Hi Tom — Yeah, I’ve noticed all the signs like the one you mention in recent years. (We visit every year or so, as my husband is a native and has much family in L.A.). I read the book, but that was last year and maybe I don’t remember all of it…I was just hoping this didn’t turn into a “bash the South” fest, because the races do mix more easily here, meaning Atlanta, than I ever saw there, especially in the working world. America being more a mosaic than melting pot now in general, people everywhere tend to live in neighborhoods where they feel comfortable, where the language and culture are what they’re used to, hence “Little Armenia” and so on. I do remember the riots, of course, and the 10 being the de facto “border” during that time. I’m sure that’s changed at least some.

  • Ann says:

    Thanks for a great thought-provoking post, Tom. I agree that many people pine for “the good old days,” but if you think about it realistically, they weren’t all that wonderful in many ways (though I do wish it were safer for kids so they could play and run around freely like they used to). I live in the South and have seen my share of racism, but I’ve also seen a good bit in the Midwest and Northeast, so you can’t regionalize it. Hatred in all its forms springs up everywhere and we have to try to stamp it out where we find it. I remember back in the early ’80s a group of those “white hoods” took to demonstrating at an intersection in our town, but they got such a fiercely unpleasant reception from all of us that they didn’t stay long and never came back. That was a happy day!

    • Tom says:

      I don’t want to demonize the South since it’s not I believe the only place that racism existed or exists today. I’ve been shocked by some things that co-workers have said that were blatantly racist here in “liberal” SoCal. You’re right, we have to deal with it whenever it pops up, on the corner or (like Joanna) in the grocery store.

  • pyramus says:

    My nostalgia is limited pretty much exclusively to scents, which were just flat-out better in the past: vintage stuff I have from the sixties through the eighties on the whole is more interesting, varied, and appealing than most of what’s being produced nowadays.

    But people who are mooning for the good old days, especially people who weren’t around for them, are being a bit short-sighted. I had a co-worker from another country tell me that her society (and I think ours as well) would be a lot better off if everyone was more religious as they were in the past; what I kept myself from saying was that everyone around her shared HER religion, and it wasn’t so great for people who happened to have other religious beliefs, or none at all. Despite appearances (because we have access to continuous, instant twenty-four-hour news, most of it bad — “If it bleeds, it leads”), the world is a more peaceful place than it has ever been in human history. I don’t want to speak for the whole world, but the West is making amazing strides towards equality for everyone, of a sort that really has never been seen before.

    • Tom says:

      Very well stated. The person I was thinking of is a dear lady who isn’t thinking of the larger picture. We all wish we could have our younger, thinner, supple and creak-free youthful bodies. I just don’t want to go back to the 80’s to have it.

  • Bryan says:

    Well said, sir.

    I loved the movie and I adore Viola Davis. And everyone in the film, both vile and beautiful, played their parts well. I had to compose myself after the credits.

    • Tom says:

      Yes, everyone in it was really good. I hope it does really well.

      My only complaint was that Harry Potter was booming next door, which was a little distracting..

  • Joanna says:

    I’m a midwestern gal born and bred, but married to a southerner. We lived in his neck of the woods for a couple years before returning here to MN. While I realize that compared to what it was back in, “The Good Old Days” it’s nowhere near as violent…racism still seems so much more prevalent down there. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist here, I know it does, but it’s quieter, (I’m not saying quiet hate is in any way better than in your face hatred.) I don’t hear the, “N word” dropped here. I mean literally I can’t remember the last time. Down there I heard it several times a week at least. One of the defining moments that led me to want to return to the midwest was I was waiting in line at a store with my 2 small children when another customer in line began berating the sales clerk and calling him several slurs relating to homosexuality. I calmly asked this person to quit and told him what he was saying was ugly and ignorant and inappropriate for children and any other living creature for that matter. And he did quit and apologized to me and my kids but not the sales clerk. What an ass. But the worst part was when I went to my vehicle a woman who was also present during that whole debacle approached me and hissed that I was going to hell for condoning homosexuality and shame on me for teaching my kids that it’s okay to be gay. This happened 2 yrs ago. Change is still a long time coming.
    By the way I haven’t seen the movie but I really enjoyed the book.