Posts Tagged ‘Winston Churchill’


“The price of greatness is responsibility.”

― Winston Churchill


I saw an idiot* on television yesterday say, “The buck stops with everybody.”

Inspiring stuff. A new chapter in Profiles in Courage.

But, even though this pains me to say, the moron* was right.

Well, right in a way, not in the instance of which he was speaking, where he was trying to relieve himself of all responsibility for the particular situation in which he finds himself. No, the fool* is the primary bearer of the responsibility for that.

I am saying the buck stops with us all right now. We have allowed and enabled this whole ugly situation to take place. We have willingly given a looter a flamethrower and we are now witnessing how much damage can be done as he flees the scene.

And he* is very much a looter.  Think about it.

A looter comes riding in on a wave of chaos and confusion, grabbing whatever he can as he runs through the mayhem. He thrives on the bedlam taking place around him because his only concern, his only focus, is on himself alone. He carelessly pushes people aside to get where and what he wants. Not a bit of care for the damage being done or the losses suffered from his actions. Not a single thought for those hurt as he tramples through.

And when it looks like the authorities are closing in, the looter* uses his flamethrower and sows even more confusion. When the whole city is ablaze, you focus on putting out the fire. The looter* focuses only on moving himself to safety.

It is now time for us all to understand that this is our responsibility to end this chaos, to extinguish the fires and take the flamethrower out of the tiny hands of the looter*. We must make our presence felt and our voices heard. Hit the phones and keyboards. Take to the streets and do it now. We can’t depend on anyone else doing it for us.

It is our responsibility.

If we want to continue to be considered a great nation, this is the price we must now pay. Because as Winston Churchill states above, responsibility is the price for greatness.

Or as a reality TV show nitwit* once said, “The buck stops with everybody.”

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The Life and Death of Colonel BlimpI’m taking a small break from talking about my show that opens Friday to mention a film that is showing today on Turner Classic Movies.  They’re showing several films of the great director Michael Powell and finish up with The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp from 1943.

It’s probably not a movie many of you know and that’s a great shame.  Colonel Blimp was a popular comic character in the British papers of the 1930’s, an older, round British officer who was a throwback to the Boer War, always recounting his exotic exploits in the far reaches of the Empire in a doddering, foolish manner.  The movie begins in WW II Britain and the main character, Clive Candy, is an older officer who has become the very embodiment of Colonel Blimp.  The movie traces his life and shows, sympathetically, how he came to be such a character.  It was a very controversial movie in wartime Britain because of the presence of a German officer who was portrayed as a sympathetic character.  Even though he was anti-Nazi, the portrayal of any German officer in such a favorable light drew the ire of Winston Churchill and the British government.  

Visually, like all Michael Powell films, Colonel Blimp is stunning and has the beautiful saturated color that are present in all of Powell’s color films, like The Red Shoes or The Black Narcissus.  There is a short sequence at the films beginning that could easily be the first example of the modern music video.  It consists of a group of troops on motorcycles speeding through the English countryside to the sounds of rollicking big band music.  The filming is sharp with daring shots and gives you the sense of the speed and power of the bikes as their movements were in sync with the crash of the music.  When I first saw it I was thrilled.  It had such a modern feel, something I wasn’t expecting in a film from 1943.  I wonder how many filmmakers had seen that short segment and been influenced to further highlight a scene with music.  It’s only about a minute long so if you want to see what I’m talking about watch the film below.  The segment I refer to starts at about 2:25 or so.

I don’t usually like to recommend movies for much the same reason I don’t like to recommend specific art.  Film, like art, is a really personal preference.  Totally subjective.  What I may see in a film or piece or art may elude you and vice versa.  But if you get the chance see Colonel Blimp or any of the other Michael Powell films.  They are visually beautiful and greatly interesting.  His eye for composing the image that you see reminds me of the way John Ford put his scenes together.  Both have a truly artistic feel, adding an elegance and magnificence to almost every shot.  There is nothing mundane in any of their work.  Good, good stuff…

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