Monday, October 31, 2011

What I'm Learning From Movies

My human loves movies.  She REALLY loves movies!  Part of my education process is to watch movies with her.  As a result of this "movie fest", I've learned a few things about America.

One, patriotic movies were once the norm in Hollywood.  That's right, you were considered "uncool" if you weren't patriotic!  Candi told me the story of how Bette Davis and John Garfield started the "Stagedoor Canteen" for soldiers during WWII and how actors/actresses suspended their careers to enlist in various branches of the military.  She told me of how Frank Capra, an immigrant, loved this country so much he made movies about its greatness.  Not only that, but Americans were pro-family too!  We didn't see dad's being the butt of jokes or moms running around scantily clad.  No, we saw family units that loved one another and had a moral compass that pointed due north.

Two, thrillers didn't need blood and guts to make them scary.  Some of the most frightening scenes just hinted at the suggestion of violence.  For some reason, that makes them more scary in my mind.  Alfred Hitchcock was a master at suggestion and knew that he didn't have to show the actual murder to make it frightening.  Too bad today's directors don't understand that simple concept.  Rather than being scared, we're more likely to be grossed out!

Three, politics haven't really changed that much.  There is still corruption in politics, the media still plays an important role and special interests groups will stop at nothing to get "favors".  As demonstrated in movies like "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington", "Primary Colors",  "The Manchurian Candidate" and many more, there are people in this world that will stop at nothing to gain power.  And although Hollywood is quick to make movies and documentaries regarding corruption in the GOP, very seldom will you see them putting out anything against the Democratic party.  Just telling you what I've noticed so far.

So Candi is using movies as one way to educate me.  When something comes up that we want to clarify or understand better, we research the subject on the internet.  The important thing is, I'm learning something and I'm NOT bored to death.  It's far more entertaining to watch a movie than a documentary or listen to a lecture, even if they don't get everything right.  So, I'll continue to watch the movies and do my research.  I was just wanting to share what I've been doing so far.

Oh...and since Veterans Day is just around the corner, we'd like to recommend one of our personal favorites...To Hell And's based on the true story of Audie Murphy, one of America's greatest heroes.  The man was amazing!

Friday, October 28, 2011

PETA Scares Me

"Candi, why does PETA want to take away the killer whales?  Will they take me away from you?"

"No Patton, no one is ever going to take you from me.  And PETA is run by a bunch of liberals who think of animals as humans.  They claim that Sea World is using the killer whales as slaves," Candi said.

I know I'm just a puppy, so correct me if I'm wrong.  I have four legs, a lot of fur and I don't have the capability to reason.  Candi has two legs, no fur and the ability to reason.  I have no hands and no fingers or thumbs.  Candi has two hands, eight fingers and two thumbs.  Shasta says, that because we're exceptionally smart, we were able to learn how to read and write but that MOST animals can't.  So how can we be anything like humans?  I love my human and I don't think of myself as a slave.  I don't think any animal thinks of itself as a human or slave.  Why does PETA want to take us all away from what we know and love?

It scares me to know that there are people out there pretending to be friends to us animals, but in reality want to turn us loose in a world where not all would treat us well.  Shasta is right I think.  PETA is NOT a friend to animals.  I think I'm going to stick very close to Candi and bite every PETA person that comes near me!

A Lesson In Corruption Via The Movies

My human loves movies.  She especially loves movies about politics.  So...while discussing corruption in politics with Shasta, I asked her to explain what she meant by that.  She did and then decided that I needed to watch some movies with her that would give me an idea of what she was talking about.

First, we watched Mr. Smith Goes To Washington starring a man named Jimmy Stewart.  It was quite telling how he had to fight the very people responsible for his appointment to the Senate. Candi said that the movie represents what one honest person can achieve if he is willing to take a stand and do the right thing.  I asked my human if things like that went on today.  She said, "Yes, Patton.  It does.  Unfortunately, most of the people in Washington that are there through a "special appointment", don't have the character that Jimmy Stewart's character had in the movie."  That is something I couldn't quite understand.  As a dog, I want to do the right thing.

So, then we watched Primary Colors starring John Travolta.  Candi said the similarities to President Clinton were eerie.  Not sure what that means.  I am only a puppy, after all.  Anyway, the movie revolves around a candidate running for President and the lengths he goes to in order to secure the election.  Lying, trickery, hiring people specifically to dig up dirt on the other guy just to hide his own dirty deeds, and the list goes on.  These are things dogs would never do!  I expressed concern about this and Candi told me not to worry.  "There are people like me out in the world who are always on the watch for things like this," she said.

We're going to be watching more movies over the next few days.  Some are black and white and some are in color.  Candi says that even though they are "fictional", we can learn something about the way campaigns are run, the strides people will take to get elected and also, how the media plays a role.  Our next two movies are going to be, Meet John Doe and Swing Vote.  One is about a political movement started by a false story run in a newspaper and the other is about a little girl who takes civic responsibility seriously.  Maybe I'll learn something I can share with you guys.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The House of Representatives

As part of my education, Candi has been discussing our Founding Fathers and the Constitution.  We've been talking specifically about the House of Representatives this week.

So, I've learned about the discovery of America, the different reasons people came here and the importance of the Revolution.  I find it most amazing that George Washington was a reluctant leader.  Being president was not something he actively pursued.  He wanted to go back to his farm after the war and live a quiet life.  I think Candi may have it right when she said that reluctant leaders make the best leaders.

Taxation without representation is the number one reason we fought for independence, according to Candi.  She says that King George taxed the colonies in America and that they had no representation in government in England.  The Founding Fathers were not anarchists, they just wanted fair representation in government in direct relation to the taxes being sent over.  When King George refused us representation, we revolted.

One of the core principles of the Constitution is that no one shall be taxed without directly being represented in government.  In each congressional district, a person from that district is sent to D.C. to directly represent the needs of the people in that district.  We have a census every ten years to make sure that each state has the correct number of districts and therefore, the correct number of elected officials in Washington.  That's why all appropriation and taxation bills must originate in the House of Representatives.  It is not the job of the Senate or White House to impose taxes or spend said taxes.  Now I know that I'm just a puppy, but who better to protect the interests of me and my neighbors than one of my neighbors? 

If we're wrong, please let us know.  We have been studying the House specifically, but we may have gotten it wrong.  I don't really think so, but just in case I thought I'd ask if anyone has a different perspective.