Last night we watched The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep as the aging Margaret Thatcher. Say what you will about Maggie's politics, she was one tough woman. Streep portrays her brilliantly as a widow who hallucinates that her husband is still alive and who has moments when she flashes back to her glory days in Parliament. No one, but no one, ever pushed her around. When she was Prime Minister, she declared she had no interest in managing Britain's decline; her goal was to put the "Great" back in Great Britain.
The movie is a stark contrast to the memoir I just finished reading, Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee--A Look Inside North Korea by Jan Jing-sun. The author had been poet laureate for Kim Jong-il, which gave him the status of "Admitted," one of the very few people with the despot's blessing. In North Korea, no one is allowed to write anything, including poetry, unless officially directed to do so, and the only permissible poetry is praise of the Dear Leader. Jang was assigned to write an epic poem about Kim's glory, and at some point he and a friend had enough of the lies. They attempted a dangerous escape into China.
Thatcher was eventually challenged for leadership of her party, and she stepped down. Kim held absolute power until his death, as likely will his son Kim Jong-un.
I'm planning to write a review of Dear Leader for the Internet Review of Books. Meanwhile, the book and the Thatcher movie are well worth your time.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
|Gavrilo Princip, assassin |
of Archduke Ferdinand
But what if that assassination had failed? Maybe the Great War would have started anyway with some other spark. But let's assume not. What might today's world look like if the War to End All Wars had never taken place?
Let's see. The Russian Revolution was a direct outcome of the Tsar's disastrous participation in the war. World War II flowed from the reparations and resentment from the first. Where would Hitler, Lenin, and Stalin have been without all that misery and destruction? Perhaps they would have been no more than long-forgotten thugs. Mao Tse-Tung learned his ideology from the Soviet Union, so China may not have had Mao and his Great Leap Forward. The United States would not have sent troops to Europe, thus ending our isolationist outlook forever. Historical artifacts such as the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires would have lingered, if not lasted. European powers would not have redrawn the Middle East into countries with artificial boundaries, as with Iraq and Syria.
And what about the Cold War? No communist Eastern Europe, no American troops in Europe, no Holocaust, no Israel (maybe), no nukes, no space race, no satellites, no Internet or GPS, no Korean or Vietnam Wars, no European Union. No President Truman, a World War I hero who integrated the military, helping to advance the cause of civil rights. We might not have had an interstate highway system, at least in part because war hero Dwight Eisenhower would not likely have become president. Of course some of our technological advances might have happened eventually, perhaps generations later, spurred on by other wars.
Of course, other disasters might have--surely would have--happened instead. How today's world would have looked without the Archduke's murder is impossible to know, as unpredictable events cause unpredictable chains of consequences. That war was utterly wrong and pointless, yet its destructive energy yielded, for both better and worse, the society we live in now.
Posted by Bob Sanchez at 11:30 AM
Thursday, May 29, 2014
|President Clinton talking about When Pigs Fly|
successful tactics of '12 faltered in '13, and truth be told, I've been too busy in '14 to even try much marketing when results are so paltry.
So it's with pleasure I share with you my dream endorsement. No, really. It was a dream I had this morning just before my wife told me I was sleeping too late. In an unspecified city I am walking on the sidewalk, and President Bill Clinton sees me and beams with delight. "Hey Bob!" he says, hardly able to contain himself.
Then he shakes my hand with a strong grip. "I loved your book, man."
Next he's giving me a bear hug as I ask him, "You mean When Pigs Fly?"
"Oh yeah, man. That was great."
So there you have it: a presidential seal of approval for my work.
In my dreams.
Posted by Bob Sanchez at 11:11 AM
Sunday, May 04, 2014
|Walter White, |
maker of meth and mayhem
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
A gate at the beautiful Zilker Gardens in Austin, Texas. If you are ever in Texas's capital city, be sure to visit there.
I'm so glad you stopped by to visit my blog during the A to Z Challenge. It's been fun sharing some of the places my wife and I have visited.
|A gate at Zilker Gardens|
|Park bench, Zilker Gardens|
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Monday, April 28, 2014
"All my exes live in Texas. That's why I'm in Tennessee."
--Sanger and Linda Shafer
|Rio Grande in the Big Bend area. Mexico is on the left bank.|
|Cholla cactus and bird's nest, Big Bend area.|