Images from the movie Public Enemies are with me this morning which tells me it is a strong movie.
At one point, Dillinger and his cronies go to a dilapidated farmhouse to change clothes. A woman stands there with her child begging them to take them with her. We see the poverty of the Depression in that image. The woman haunts, represents the sorrow, hard work, and lack of opportunity of that time.
Dillinger was considered a Robin Hood to some. He didn't take money from individuals, only from banks. Of course, it is the individual's money that is in the bank and yet there is something about it in these times that rings a bit true since we've seen so much greed and mismanagement in the banks of today.
The amounts of actual cash are also curious. I doubt that our banks hold much actual cash today. We forget how people used to pay cash for almost everything. There were no credit cards.
Also, I loved the cars and the hats on men and the business suits. There was an air of formality amidst the reality and grittiness and the press was just as obnoxious and manipulated then as now. Was the movie made to show us times haven't changed? This is not an emotional movie. We recoil when a woman is beaten and slapped, but there is no attempt to manipulate our emotions here. It is almost given in a documentary, matter-of-fact form. We can see ourselves calmly carving a gun to get ourselves out of jail.
The movie also emphasizes what we still haven't learned. Prisons are places that teach crime. Until we reform our prison system and bring some humanity, common sense, and training skills to it, we will continue to have problems. There are a few people who are psychopaths and it is possible Dillinger was on that scale, as were others in his group, but we need to look at society as a whole and how we help each one of us to have a life that is humane. Dillinger's father beat him. Michael Jackson's father beat and tortured him. When will that change?
I finished reading the book Seven Tenths, The Sea and Its Thresholds, last night. I didn't find it an easy read and it is an important one. I recommend it. The author is James Hamilton-Paterson. I hope it is in the libraries. My son loaned me his copy.
We can't live without the sea obviously. We are of the sea, are the sea. The book is a series of essays that give us a sense of what is going on in the sea. It is mainly tragic, of course. Reading of the loss of life in the sea is painful, the extinction that is going on there, but somehow where I was must caught was with an incident in November, 1990. Three young Bajau women were in a small boat with bamboo outriggers. The 17 year old brother of one of them was there too. They were "homeward bound from the island of Siasi, whose town was the nearest reliable source of fresh water." He speaks of how the Bajau know the water, know the language of it. When we extinguish a people, we extinguish a knowledge and language we will never see again. Who has time to read the water anymore, to know what is beneath the surface by what is seen on the top?
The boy is shot and killed by pirates, and the three women are taken and beaten and raped and then a ransom is demanded, which, of course, can't be paid, so after a week of torture, the women are brutally, brutally killed. This is only one example of what goes on on this planet, only one, and yet, maybe this is the image I will carry to be more aware of the need for change, this and the woman standing on a gray and wind-blown farm feeling hopeless to feed herself and her child.
How odd that I choose an icon of California poppies, taken by Alan, for this post. I believe in hope. I do.