Last night I watched the new History Channel series, The Bible, and thoroughly enjoyed it, from the Irish-sounding Noah telling the story of the creation in the middle of the flood, to the ninja angels,
to the very awesome (in the old meaning of the word, “inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear”) Moses.
As you may recall, locusts were one of the plagues of Egypt. Lo and behold, here’s the Drudge headline this morning, right on time for Passover,
“Pablo Escobar: Boss of Evil” is mesmerizing television viewers in this country of 46 million. But it is sparking a debate over whether the series does too much to humanize Escobar, who won legions of admirers by building homes for the poor but also blew up an airliner and coolly ordered the killings of thousands.
“It’s a false and paltry version that will end up converting the worst criminal into an idol,” said Rodrigo Lara Restrepo, whose father, Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, was assassinated on Escobar’s orders in 1984.
The creators of the biopic, though, come from families victimized by Escobar.
Juana Uribe, a producer of the series, is the daughter of Maruja Pachon, who was kidnapped for seven months by Escobar’s henchmen, a saga memorialized in Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “News of a Kidnapping.” Uribe is also a vice president at Caracol, the network behind the series.
Her co-producer is Camilo Cano, whose father, Guillermo Cano, was the crusading editor of the newspaper El Espectador who was killed by the Medellin cartel’s hit men in 1986.
The producers say that 19 years after Escobar was gunned down on a rooftop in Medellin, it is the right time to tell his story in a fictionalized but largely true-to-life account.
“This is a way of doing a little bit of catharsis because this is what we went through, and there is no Colombian who doesn’t understand that,” Uribe said. “I had the possibility to analyze and had an open door to tell the story. I felt like we had a responsibility to do this.”
Apparently, they have set out to show “all sides” of the psychopath.
The trailer for the show asks the question, “What do you believe?” over and over, as in (my translation. Please link to this post if you use it),
“They say Pablo Escobar paid his henchmen a million pesos for every policeman they killed. What do you believe?
“They say Pablo Escobar spent 150 million pesos in rubber bands to organize his bundles of dollars. What do you believe?
“They say Pablo Escobar spent over 5 billion pesos in fuel to transport his mistress in his private jet. What do you believe?
“They say Pablo Escobar built a system of tunnels though the city sewers to escape from the police. What do you believe?
Pablo Escobar: Boss of Evil.”
I’ll tell you what I know: Unless they show a corpse for every minute of Escobar, the series will glorify the image of drug lords the way the old Miami Vice series did in the 1970s.
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, HOST: In tonight’s Rewrite, Mitt Romney rewrites the definition of an Olympic athlete.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST OF “FACE THE NATION”: I hear you’ve got an Olympic athlete in the family.
MITT ROMNEY: Isn’t that something? Yeah, it’s not me. It’s my wife, of course. She’s the athlete, but in this case, it’s not her personally, but she along with two other people purchased a horse and have trained it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: She’s the athlete. That’s what Mitt Romney just said. She’s the athlete.
In Utah, Romney worked to develop a routine. Josh Romney, the third of the Romney sons, was living in Salt Lake City at the time, and mother and son met regularly for lunch, often at a bagel shop near Josh. “We spent a lot of time just trying to talk things through,” he recalls. Mitt Romney juggled the household chores and running the Olympics. On his drive home, he would sometimes stop at Albertson’s, a grocery store in Park City, to pick up dinner. One favorite meal was rotisserie chicken, accompanied by side dishes of broccoli and pita bread.
Through all this, Ann Romney wondered how long her ability to walk, even with difficulty, would last. She recalls thinking, “I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up in a wheelchair, pretty sure I’m going to be really bad.” She resolved to take action and made a decision: “I want to do things that I love so much in life before I can’t do them anymore.”
So Romney bought a horse, Buddy. Romney is quick to tell me that Buddy wasn’t an “expensive” horse. “Having him,” she says, “was like the coolest thing in the world.” Buddy was a trail and first-level dressage horse, and he was Romney’s companion in those days. “I was pretty lonely,” she admits.
Buddy’s stable was a 35-minute drive from the Romneys’ Utah home. Once at the stable, Romney would spend hours and hours with Buddy, grooming him and cleaning out his stall. Still very weak, she could barely ride the horse: “I could only ride, like really ride, for like five minutes” before getting too worn out.
But Romney’s affection for Buddy transformed her outlook on life and gave her a reason to push herself to climb out of bed each morning. “I noticed that I had this euphoria afterwards — it kind of got me out of that fatigue place for a little bit, just for a little time,” she says of her riding. Slowly, she began to feel slightly stronger.
Time passed. And then Mitt Romney nominated his wife — without telling her — to carry the Olympic torch, citing her as his personal hero. It would be an arduous task for her: Those who carry the Olympic torch run for a quarter-mile before relaying the torch to the next person. For weeks beforehand, Romney practiced, building up her strength.
“She was able to jog the whole thing,” remembers Josh Romney, who was there with her, running alongside his mom.
“I literally ran,” Romney says, describing how she carried the torch, with friends and some of her sons present. “My kids were all surrounding me,” she says. “And they were all crying because they knew what a miracle it was that I came [to Utah] barely able to walk and now [here] I was, three years later, torch in hand, the Olympics were a success, I was back on track, I was regaining my strength, and off I ran with this torch into the city.”
O’Donnell’s fussing about Mitt’s tax deduction for the Olympic horse as a business expense, which is fully allowed under current tax law. Let’s remind Larry that MSNBC deducts Larry’s make-up, hair, and most probably on-camera wardobe – his dressage – as a business expense, too.
It is bad enough that MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell mocks Ann Romney for riding horses to treat her multiple sclerosis. But then shows what an ignoramus he is by saying that “dressage (competitive horse riding) does not appear in any of the more traditional courses of treatment” for MS.
Type in “hippotherapy” into the search engine PubMed, and you get back dozens of peer-reviewed studies showing the benefits of hippotherapy. There are even four medical journal articles showing the benefits of hippotherapy for multiple sclerosis patients. One of the articles explains how hippotherapy works:
Multiple sclerosis (MS) leads to changes in balance due to the breakdown of a number of neurological processes. Hippotherapy utilizes the movement of the horse to provide sensory feedback and has been used as a therapeutic intervention for different neurological conditions.
My old enthusiasm for Mad Men is fading considerably. After waiting for a year and a half, the series is back, and is now on its third episode.
Here’s what going wrong:
1. The old suspense over Don’s real identity and what would happen if he got found out – one of the big arching threads of the first couple of seasons – has been resolved. Now everybody knows, including Don’s bimboesque second wife Megan. Don’s first near-wife is dead and forgotten. No replacement for her interesting character or the story line yet.
2. Men stopped wearing hats in the mid-1960s.
3. Piling cliche upon cliche, Don’s second wife is catty, immature, a poor housekeeper, and sings bad songs while forcing Don to endure a most-unwanted birthday party. How more obvious can you get? A Roy Lichtenstein canvas over the fireplace spelling out “THIS MARRIAGE IS DOOMED”?
4. The one new character who got some camera time this week, Michael Ginsberg, is even more annoying than Pete, while Pete continues to annoy as always. Sal is gone forever, and Bertram Cooper (Robert Morse) is not on camera long enough to make one hope he’ll break into A Secretary Is Not a Toy.
Joan showed up unexpectedly at the office last week in a cocktail dress and hasn’t been heard of since.
Weird Glenn stayed at the old neighborhood.
Trudy’s wearing house dresses, depressed and nagging…in the ‘burbs. Yet another cliche.
5. Betty got fat. For a show that cashes in on the stylishness of its characters, having the Grace Kelly look-alike in a fat suit is probably not a good thing, since it brings to mind endless (cliched) Oprah lamentations about hating one’s body, yadda, yadda. However, the writers probably came up with this plot device since January Jones is pregnant.
It would have been more interesting, however, to have a blissfully pregnant Betty happily married to a Republican while living in full Victorian splendor in a Castle on the Hudson. It may have even caused Megan to exclaim, Zoot alors! from the middle of her Danish Modern apartment.
Which brings me to the last issue,
6. Politics appears to be rearing up its ugly head:
Two, count ‘em, two digs at Republicans: George Romney, then governor of Michigan, enduring a put-down “Romney’s a clown!” (by a John Lindsay Republican, fer cryin’ out loud, which makes one wonder who’s beclowning who), which of course is a dig at Mitt Romney because who’s the Romney in the news? how many Mad Men viewers know that George even existed?
and an anecdote on Charlton Heston, then a Democrat who at the height of his fame marched with Martin Luther King, Jr, in Washington. Of course this was not mentioned.
Heston supposedly “had great weed” and met Harry Crane naked at the door. Wish I had been there, but still,
Republican fans of the show (and I am one) will now have to worry about more of this straight through to the end of the season