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I watched the new Oliver Stone film Snowden a few weeks ago. It gave me the creeps. I recognize it’s a Hollywood/Stone version of a story about a guy people consider either a traitor or a hero. It still gave me the creeps. Though Stone’s version of JFK is considered by some to be a whacky, paranoid conspiracy buff’s dream, I have no doubt there was a conspiracy to murder JFK and a conspiracy to cover up the truth of who was involved. I’ve read 1984. It also gave me the creeps, along with a healthy skepticism about government and unscrupulous people with lots of power. The U.S. government has done some horrible things throughout our nation’s history, including to its own citizens. If you disagree, you may as well stop reading now and go to another website because nothing else I’m about to write will resonate with you at all.

Because I was so intrigued by the story of Edward Snowden, I went to the library and checked out CITIZENFOUR, the 2014 winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary Film. I figured it would be less “Hollywood” and more the straight stuff. It is. CITIZENFOUR was directed by Laura Poitras and features journalist Glenn Greenwald, along with Snowden. It was Poitras and Greenwald that Snowden contacted to help him make public the classified information he had chosen to release: evidence of massive, indiscriminate and illegal invasion of privacy (spying) by the U.S. government, via the National Security Agency (NSA) on virtually all its citizens… you and me. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the byproducts of living with two young granddaughters is we tend to watch more animated films in our home than we might otherwise. One of the benefits of this reality is that many such movies are teaching some important life lessons that are often missing in what grown-ups often encounter in many adult-oriented films, not to mention the national news, political discourse, and the other stuff we encounter in everyday life.

Kubo and the Two Strings is nominated for Best Animated Feature Film in this year’s Oscars. Kubo loses his father and his mother and unleashes a couple of evil spirits determined to destroy him. He embarks on a quest, accompanied by a monkey and a giant beetle, to solve the mystery of his fallen, samurai father, and along the way, discover his own magical powers.

Particularly in these challenging times, when so many people believe there is so much going wrong in the world, Kubo reminds us of the power of sharing our stories, the power of family, and most important, of our own power.

In the event you’re a grown-up reading these words, and you think you’re too mature for animated films… trust me. You aren’t. Embrace your inner child, or snuggle up with your grandchild on the couch, and join Kubo on his grand adventure.


Copyright 2012 by Thomas Norman DeWolf | Website: James DeW. Perry