Our Better Angels

————

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.
Though passion may have strained, it must not break
our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell
when again touched, as surely they will be,
by the better angels of our nature.”

President Abraham Lincoln First Inaugural Address,
Washington DC, March 1861

————

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Back in the Fall of 2015 I had read some rumors and articles that one of my all-time favorite American, historical stories was being made into film. I was thrilled, elated this true event was finally making a screen-write then into full production. This true story is set during the 1970’s Civil Rights Movement throughout the old South, but for these two main characters the movie would begin exactly where it all began, Durham, North Carolina, 1971.

I thought about titling this blog-post Our Better Virtues, but decided against because Lincoln’s quote was just too spot on and appropriate for this subject and film. Although, “Virtues” would have inferred my own meaning, intention, and desires for human kind around the world. After all, every single living human on this planet has some virtues. They just have to choose to find them, bestow them liberally, and nurture as well as grow them. Oh well, “Our Better Angels” gets the point across just fine. 😉

I have blogged here several times about C.P. Ellis and Ann Atwater and the volatile, appalling events they both found themselves. In a February 2016 blog-post I wrote about expanding sympathy into deep empathy and how the two feelings, behaviors are actually quite different. The Golden Rule, “Do unto others” and so on, falls short of deep, impactful empathy. Real empathy requires much more than being self-centered or focused on one’s self. It requires putting yourself into their life, their shoes, and metaphorically (or literally?) walking in them 100-miles or more. It does not involve yourself.

This 2019 film, The Best of Enemies, starring Taraji P. Henson (as Ann Atwater) and Sam Rockwell (as C.P. Ellis), tells that story about finding and giving common, deep empathy for your fellow neighbor, your fellow human being. I finally had the opportunity to watch it and not soon enough! Here is one of the trailers:

Sadly and disappointingly critical reviews of the film have been average and unkind if not neutrally bland. Therefore, I am writing my own reviews and commentary everywhere I can. Why? Because I feel strongly it is important to point out a few things about historical, time-period films to less discerning audiences regarding authentic history, particularly scholarly history that seeks to gather all possible data, evidence, sources, and narratives… no matter their viewpoint. Now, for my personal review of the film, The Best of Enemies:

I imagine this film is horribly underrated and unappreciated by the majority of cinematic fans and specific “cultural” groups. BUT movie reviews will never change what Ann Atwater changed in North Carolina and the ripple-effects she and C.P. Ellis began afterwards during and for the Civil Rights in the 1970’s.

The fact that this film briefly portrays in two short hours what was accomplished in real life between Bill Riddick, Howard Clement, C.P. Ellis, and Ann Atwater—not to mention the Black community in Durham, NC—must be remembered. No matter what movie critics think about the film, and honestly, their trivial criticisms about its direction or production or script or acting do it injustice. Pffffft.

Real, accurate, authentic history is near impossible to translate/transcribe onto the silver-screen in a measly 2-hours or less. This unwinnable cinematic anomaly against movie producers, film-writers, film-budgets, then movie audiences and critics, should always be seriously considered when producing and releasing raw, historically accurate, socially-politically CORRECT and LEGALLY RIGHT Movements as the American Civil Rights, or other highly controversial subjects as the Holocaust or the U.S.’s 18th – 19th century treatment, extermination, and resettlement of Native American Indian tribes. Typically 2-hours or less will NEVER do these historical time-period subjects full justice.

Hence, when all considered, including reading and deciding the real worth/value of this film’s many bland or negative short-sighted or undeserved reviews, just remember this…

2-hours will NEVER be able to tell the full astonishing, real-life true story and relationship about and between Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis… which required and evolved over three decades! Ignore movie critics, remember the core and marrow of what the film is telling, portraying!

5-stars and more, every time, every day!

Did I emphasize 2-hours enough? 😜

Seriously though, I hope you will make the time to watch, appreciate, and support these fine altruistic, humanitarian films like this one and the stories they tell. They will at least introduce to you a starting point to go further, dig deeper into the entire contextual narrative, facts, plausible facts, and plausible probabilities despite there often being degrees of cinematic license taken to appease corporate profits, severe time-constraints, and/or film productions at the expense of truth and full historical accuracy. Please keep this in mind.

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Treasure Hunting & Worth

In life’s ambitions, treasure hunting is more common than you might think. It is just as popular today as it was centuries ago on the high seas, or the mountains of Shangri-La, or El Dorado on the banks of the Orinoco River. In fact, in some form or fashion and metaphor we all hunt for value, for meaning, the marrow for one or more “X Marks the Spots.” Every single human being has done this: seeking our fortunes, literally or supernaturally, or both. Whatever form this aspiration takes, it has certainly been human nature for over 300,000 years of evolution. Our desire to become less ignorant and/or less afraid through understanding. In so many ways our lives are stories, or as Shakespeare aptly described: “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.” We strive, we perform to somehow be of worth to self and others, worthy of life as well as at death. We love and hunt for some type of an astonishing, ageless story.

COOIshow posterI stumbled across a business magazine article last week about a very well-known, fascinating trait we humans possess: worth-seeking. The article was What ‘The Curse Of Oak Island’ Teaches About Actually Finding Treasure. The article critiques the History Channel’s popular Tuesday night show. The article and hit TV show both reveal a lot about human nature and our obsession for extraordinary stories told in extraordinary ways, whether we are the audience or the actual treasure hunters. If anything, the two key components of a timeless “story” reveal our vulnerabilities and insatiable curiosities no matter what side of the story you are on.

Even if the Lagina-History Channel team already know the [final] answer, the ‘gold’ their mining from the franchise they’ve built around the whole undertaking promises to stretch out the timeline to when they decide to tell us. But as we wait for the imagined treasure, Rick [Lagina] has already given us the most valuable treasure of all: the reminder that there is no isolated ‘ah ha’ moment in which the value we seek just appears.

All human beings have this general trait to find the greatest payoff manifested during our lifetime in many different ways. To degrees we are all treasure hunters. However, history is replete with legends, stories, hoaxes, and myths of an ultimate, incomparable treasure yet to be realized. The hunt becomes bigger than the prize.

Most tangible, known hidden “treasures” have been found. But there are indeed hunts that lead either to an unexpected different treasure or a completely empty dead-end. Consequently, the latter can lead to more hunting, more conspiracy theories, or redefinition, retro-fitting, and modifications for the sake of hunting and hope which drives humans to no end, supernatural resolve or “faith,” and yet no tangible treasure!

You might assume otherwise, but Oak Island co-star Rick Lagina is just like the rest of us. As a treasure hunter and a cable show star, from the outside he may look different. But below the surface he’s surprisingly the same, something he proved last month in a season 7 episode of the show. In a crescendo moment of discovery for a show that already has 99 episodes in the books, Rick summed up the breakthrough saying this: “It was a truly aha! moment.” But it wasn’t.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I do recommend everyone read the entire Inc.com article by Larry Robertson. Why? Because it hints, perhaps demonstrates that if we are patient enough to allow this enormous Universe/Cosmos to reveal its answers. Allow its hints and clues of why and how it functions and at what speeds, sometimes beyond our measly, instant (impulsive?) attempts to understanding it all. Patiently allow the macro-Universe and subatomic/Quantum Physics, laws, and “spooky action at a distance” to reward our impartial, patient, persistent curiosity and scrutiny so we can indeed realize over time—not always in our own lifetime or within our grandchildren’s lifetime—but with cumulative, scholarly consensus this mindset generates higher accuracy and detail of those hows and whys.

When we cannot know or explain with any certainty or high plausibility, there is no loss, no embarrassment to tell others:  That is inconclusive. We need more time to determine for sure.” Or to say confidently After 1,900 years and especially the last century and more so the last two decades, what was once believed and commonly, socially accepted as infallibly true, is in fact NOT true at all. But how many are brave and willing to be undecided, unswayed by the norm, the vast majority, or even stand firmly against the falsely, ill-founded traditions and conventions of the crowd, of the antiquated systems of This is how it is, how it has always been for 2,000 years!?

Humans Are Obsessed with Aha Moments, Supernatural Feelings of Divine Profound Revelation and Treasures

Allow me to draw comparisons to the human addiction experience and the sheer lure and power of perpetual hope, commitment, and undying faith for an ultimate, undetermined, possible winning lotto-ticket IF you keep playing every day, every week for the remainder of your life. You can’t win the jackpot, however, if you don’t pray play and ask too many critical questions while playing. It begs the question, What makes people, a person, to wish upon hope even in the face of no proof, no guarantee of success and reward at the end, for the rest of their life?

The undeniable fascination with the intertwining of historical theories and possible treasure is what drives each season of The Curse of Oak Island. Because the speculation excites and entices, it’s likely that the show will not only see a Season 8, but a Season 9, and more.
Aiden Mason,Why the Curse of Oak Island Will Live to See a Season 8,” TV over Mind.com, accessed Jan. 24, 2020

Like Speculators of America’s early 19th century westward expansion and economic development, and those today in the stock market and banking investments, analyzing and forecasting future prices and ROI’s, the Laginas brothers and their team must find and contract with investors to hedge risks and losses, not to mention their public image and reputations. This is smart business, right? Funds have to be raised in order to keep the treasure hunt alive! From the Showbiz Cheatsheet website:

The rewards of Oak Island’s supposed treasure might be bigger than Marty and Rick Lagina (and the rest of their The Curse of Oak Island team) ever imagined. But, the cost to dig on the mysterious… Money Pit is now in the millions. Which begs the question: Who is paying for the Oak Island treasure hunt? Up ahead, we deep dive into the Oak Island’s financial backing and reveal who might be covering a majority [or all] of the costs.
Jessie Quinn,Who Is Paying for the Oak Island Treasure Hunt?Showbiz CheatSheet.com, accessed Jan. 24, 2020

Before the TV show became #1 in cable TV-ratings with over 3.34 million viewers, Marty Lagina was already a very successful, wealthy energy mogul through the sale of his natural gas drilling company Terra Energy. That sale enabled the start of his two current companies Heritage Sustainable Energy (wind turbines) and his winery Mari Vineyards, both in Michigan. With his accumulation of capital, business experience, and past drilling experience Marty Lagina and his financial-business partner Craig Tester, along with other business-team partners, Oak Island Tours, Inc. was founded.

When the production company Prometheus Entertainment approached Marty, his brother Rick Lagina, and the Oak Island team in 2014 to create a reality TV-series and A&E Network’s History Channel as its distributor, Marty Lagina and Oak Island Tours, Inc. were diversified and firmly established for long-term financial backing and revenues. Seven years and seven television seasons later, with a probable eighth season pending, the hunt for the famed Money Pit, the underground vault/room rumored to hold unimaginable untold treasures, the insatiable hunt for the ultimate payoff continues… (long exhale, deep breath) again.

Does this legendary story remind you of any other riveting, extraordinary “stories” in history of immense value and wealth waiting to be discovered and owned? Do all hidden treasures, found or not, have to be strictly monetary in value? No. When they are never found they take on an almost Gnostic, metaphysical meaning, perhaps to save face. Consider these few popular tales still alive today:

Notice the consistent patterns? That is, the consistent human psychological patterns of Gold Fever or addictive greed or more precisely the constant need for external affirmation for one’s self-worth:  polydependency versus codependency. Why are individuals, or groups, organizations willing to put everything on the line, change their entire lifestyle, risk even their own life for some cause, for a legend or unconfirmed story that has no guarantees of a payoff, much less that exists or has only half-truths… or worse? Why have over 3.34 million TV viewers become obsessed fans of the History Channel show The Curse of Oak Island for seven or eight years? Why is it that an unconfirmed existence of some future jackpot, treasure or worth can perpetuate 7-years, or 20, 100 or even 2,000 years of unyielding, unwavering belief by millions of television followers?

The Tomb of A Jesus

Empty tomb of Jesus/Yeshua bar Jebediah, tax collector

And if you really do feel/think the hidden treasure you seek probably, maybe exists, a better question would be:  How could one raise the probabilities of verifying its existence then raise your chances of finding and claiming it?

Yet, millions upon millions of people go on blind treasure hunts daily, weekly, or over their lifetime with no such credible forensic or plausible confirmations and evidence that the “story” is factual or mythical. Why? Why would they make such life-changing decisions and take such drastic measures for something that isn’t there? Could they be suffering from psychological polydependency? Is it the gnawing need for pure wealth, or multiple affirmations and heightened self-worth by others? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Winter Celebrating

Winter Celebration_breaker

blue nutcrackerDuring this time of year, the holidays or Christmas and New Years, have always been a jolly, entertaining time of year of expectancy, of buckle your seat-belts and brace for anything. Sixteen days or so of all things good, sparkle and wonderment, uplifting or mysterious it all was/is possible. Taking time for the less fortunate in a plethora of ways. Reuniting with family around meals, in the kitchen or living room for games, maybe telling stories past or present with traditional beverages and libations for cheer. Most things are fluid, undefined precisely, other things traditional, conventional, predictable, and new. The exception? Young children. Then holiday gatherings are certainly fluid, very undefined, traditionally loud, unconventional, unpredictable, and newly broken. Messy. Pass the broom and dustpan.

red nutcrackerThere is also a never-ending amount of wishing. Wishing everything was neat and tidy. We wish you this, we wish you that, we wished you’d come, we wished you’d leave! Lots of wishing everywhere, wishing some things were different. Wishing other things and people were all the same, maybe equal. Identical? Wish you were like me, like him or her or it. Or a very popular wish of the last couple of millenia: wishing things were meticulously, undeniably true.

Not the case.

green nutcrackerNo matter what time of year it is I find things are wonderfully messy. People of all ages are messy. Life is messy, past and present, and near certainly will be in the future. That’s what it means to be human among 7.7 billion other humans. We are all alike, but equally different, from just as many different places and backgrounds. Normality and paradox somehow coexist. Going against this truth will eventually drive you mad. Life plays and swims in paradox while the kill-joys go mad and the libertines live.” A quote from yours truly on my Favorite Quotes page. But enough with my rambling!

red-captain nutcrackerWhy do we celebrate this time of year? When and where did this celebration begin? Who should I ask? Or should I not ask and go find out for myself? Ahh, more messy answers from previous messiness. One is never served so well as by oneself as Charles-Guillaume Étienne coined. The common version is If you want something done right, do it yourself. There is some truthiness to either one, I think. Some will exhort the Golden Chalice exists and certainly can be found! Others will posit no such thing exists. Still others will have no answers of any import. Perhaps it’s wise to saddle both, or maybe all three? HAH! A ménage à trois beaucoup! Oui?

Apologies. Now I’ve slipped into delicious hédonisme and débauche as the French would say with a sly grin.

court nutcrackerThere are many wrong answers to those questions, mostly wrong… most likely. Yet, if one puts on their forensic hat and goggles, with some persistence, equitable examination without rash simplification and disassociation, 😉 the messy truth can and will be found. It’s not so scary. Much of this messiness is well-known, checked and rechecked. Nevertheless, here are a few starter-fireworks, kindling if you will, sure to light-up and excite your holiday bonfire, conversation, and show:

  • Christmas is a multicultural Pagan festival dating back to at least the late Neolithic and Bronze Ages, i.e. 5000 BCE to 600 BCE, as winter solstice festivals.
  • The year and precise date of “Christ’s birth” is unknown, but the time of year is estimated by scholars to be in Autumn, not any later than September.
  • Earliest Christians from Yeshua’s (Jesus’) The Way Movement never celebrated his birth; it wasn’t until the 16th or 17th centuries CE that Western churches in Europe incorporated popular Pagan winter festivals in December into their Catholic Christ’s Mass or Mass for Christ.
  • Several Protestant denominations throughout the world banned Christmas celebrations completely, English and American Puritans, for example. Quakers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Church of Christ are three more examples.
  • Our familiar gift-giving charity originated in the Victorian Era (1800’s) and the traditional Christmas tree is Germanic-Teutonic in origin where greenery from outside is brought inside to cheer up the dormant, colorless, glumness of winter.
  • Christians of the mid-1st century to 2nd century CE celebrated Christmas in April to May; this greatly bothered the Church Leaders because Jesus’ place of birth, or death, or burial were completely uncertain, speculation and conjecture. Therefore…
  • Pope Julius I in 350 CE declared Dec. 25th as the official imperial birth-date of Jesus; it was the same time of Rome’s very popular Pagan Saturnalia festival.
  • Nativity stories, plays, and decor are taken from several Pagan celebrations and imagery, like the ideas of shepherds, wise men (Magi), and an illuminating star were all secular in origin.
  • In the modern era Christmas has taken on more diverse forms, various rituals, and commercially energized out Rudolph’s cold, red ass; I mean, nose!
  • Saint Nicholas was an obscure 4th-century philanthropist and turned into a chimney-diving Santa Claus with elves and flying reindeer, a mingling and mixing of the ancient German king of the gods Odin and his Yule celebration.
  • The story A Christmas Carol was a quick-buck publication by Charles Dickens in 1843 turning traditional Christmas scenes into heavy sentimental, heart-grabbing sharing and giving.
  • The Advent Calendar of the holidays was once just an unromantic invention by a weary 19th-century Munich, Germany housewife to silence her pestering children who would not stop asking Momma, how many days until Christmas!?
  • Yes, now is the time for some good song! Hit play (below), give hugs, find mistletoe, and be of good cheer because it is the most wonderful time of the year!

As it turns out, if truth be told historically, the Christmas holidays actually have nothing to do with the birth of the anti-Semitic Greek Jesus Christ, but instead is a winter celebration and festival of diverse, all-inclusive, ancient cultural Coming Together. A gathering of family, friends, and strangers from many messy traditions and perceptions to form a messier, melting pot of holiday mess! I vote to call the winter celebration Good-mess. Goodmess Eve, Goodmess Day, and have a cheerful Goodmess New Year. Yes? Say Ho ho ho if you agree.

————

Christmas_Lights

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.