Tag Archives: newspapers

Movie Review – News of the World (2020)

News…of the World!

BQB here with a review.

Of all the jobs in the Old West, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) has the coolest. He is the world’s first social media platform/news aggregating service. In other words, he wanders from town to town, reading articles from newspapers to townsfolk in exchange for their donations. In these pre-Netflix days, assembling to listen to a man read from a newspaper was apparently the height of entertainment.

During his travels, Kidd comes across a busted up wagon. An African American soldier has been attacked and hanged. His charge left to fend for herself? Johanna, a young white girl in Native American garb. She had been raised by the natives who attacked and killed her family. She speaks no English and her native family is the only family she has ever known.

Kidd takes it upon himself to go on a long trek to return the girl to finish the soldier’s mission and return her to her last known relatives, though it is a harrowing journey for sure. Kidd must fight his way through a vast assortment of Old West a-holes, from a pseudo-warlord trying to carve out a slice of Reconstruction era America for himself, where he serves as a type of cruel king, to a band of vile perverts who want to kidnap Johanna and sell her into a life of forced prostitution.

The captain, old, tired, and feeling as though he wasted his life and missed out on time with his wife to fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War, would prefer to live his remaining years in solitude, doing most of his talking during his rousing news readings, only to reflect quietly when he is alone on his failed goals and lost dreams, his wish for a family of his own that never came to fruition.

He’d rather remain stuck in his rut, but he is the only one in this harsh world who cares enough to see the child gets to safety, and the skills needed to do so. His greatest adversary in all of this? Johanna herself, who is trapped between two worlds, unable to trust anyone, often running away, leaving her old caretaker with no choice but to chase after her.

Overall, the movie is Oscar bait. A history piece with some insight into the Reconstruction Era South. The Union Army weren’t fans of the Southerners they were sent to keep watch on. The Southerners felt likewise. In short, everyone was quite angry, yet against this backdrop, Kidd yearns for a sense of personal peace.

The plot is more or less just Kidd has to get the kid to safety, but has to fight a collection of a-holes to do so. Tom Hanks, Hollywood’s Mr. Nice Guy, carries the film, as Kidd is a character guided by morality. He could have pawned the kid off on any number of lawmen, church folk, etc. but knows he will be unable to live with himself until he completes the mission.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – New York Times’ “Nazi Next Door” Story

Hey 3.5.

BQB here.

“Show, don’t tell.” It’s the number one rule of writing.  Trust your reader.  Show what’s going on…and you won’t need to tell them.

It’s the difference between grabbing attention and in so doing, getting the point across, or just lecturing in a boring college class style.

The New York Times ran a “Nazi Next Door” story, dubbed “A Voice of Hate in America’s Heartland” by Richard Fausset.

The story chronicles the life of a young man in his mid-20s.  He’s recently married.  He and his wife shop at Target.  He likes Seinfeld and pop culture and oh, yeah, he’s a white nationalist.

Critics were quick to get up the Times’ butt and look I’ll be the first to criticize the Times or any other paper because journalism on the whole is on the decline.  However, the criticism that came at the times is that this story “normalizes” Nazi-ism, racism, etc by talking about this guy as though he is just a normal guy misses the point.

The point, in my opinion, when you read the article, seems to be that one should be very afraid that there are seemingly normal people like the subject of this article – on the outside they get married, they go shopping, they watch TV, they do all sorts of normal things but in their spare time, they pursue activities in racist organizations so…yeah.

Like, a Nazi with a swastika tattooed on his forehead wearing a German WW2 helmet and a Hitler mustache waving a “Heil Hitler” flag should scare you….but at least you can see that guy coming.  You can spot him from a mile away and step to the other side of the street.

The guys that are, by all outward appearances, normal, who blend in and engage in the usual activities but, oh yeah, they also are actively involved in racist movements…those should scare you even more…because that guy could be shopping right next to you in the store or what have you and maybe you know him, trust him, what have you and then boom…he’s not what you thought he was.  He was a white nationalist all along.

That’s what I took away from the story.  Be very afraid of the “Nazi next door” the evil dude that might be under your nose plotting evil doings and you might not know about it until it’s too late.

People, you’ve got to get smarter.  The Times showed.  They didn’t tell.  I read it.  I got the point.  If you thought they needed to slap a big banner on the article, “Hey in case you missed it this guy is a racist!” – you missed the point.  The point is there may be a lot of people who hold themselves out to the world as normal but in the meantime they pursue evil activities.

At any rate, I don’t believe the Times meant to say, “This guy is a great guy! He’s super normal!”  They meant to say, “Um, it’s a little creepy that there are guys like this who at a first glance appear normal and you wouldn’t know what their up to just by looking at them…”

Learn to read with an eye for the point.


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