Movie Review: Christine (2016)

by David Norris2/6/19
This film is not the Steven King movie based on one of his novels. This is a horror story of another kind. I would call it a cautionary tale about a victim of ideological possession. This movie caught me completely off-guard.

I found out about it while researching a movement called Transactional Analysis, a psychological therapeutic modality introduced in the United States during the 1960s. I had assumed that this movie might be a feel-good story about people that were helped by T.A., or perhaps an expose on those it harmed. Neither was the focus of this film.

The story is about Christine Chubbuck, a single woman who works in a local television newsroom. She is nearing thirty and her career seems to have stalled. She wants to do positive human interest stories, but the big boss, comcerned about his failing station, wants to focus on crime, murder, and sensationalism…”If it bleeds, it leads,” was his motto.

On looking into her personal history, I discovered that she attended an elite private girls high school in a neighboring community to my own, and upon graduation went on to attend three different liberal arts colleges, each one further and further away from her home in Ohio.

Christine had difficulty relating to men. She had difficulty making female friends too. Her focus seemed to always be about her work.

Christine was funny, creative, and great with kids. When not at the television station she would volunteer at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital, giving puppet shows to children with intellectual disabilities.

We don’t get to know Christine Chubbuck very well, in spite of an excellent performance by Rebecca Hall. Clearly she is depressed, lonely, and suffers from some troubling events in her past. She also suffers from pains in her abdomen which she keeps dismissing as “just stress.”

When she finally goes to a doctor it is discovered that she has a tumor on one of her ovaries, and that she will have to have the ovary removed, which could reduce her chances of conceiving a child in the future.

Her father is never mentioned in the story. Christine now lives with her mother, and accuses her of neglect by filling her head with “hippie bullshit” and not helping her to understand how the world works. Christine’s bedroom looks like that of a ten year-old girl’s.

She has a crush on the station’s anchorman, but he views her as a colleague, possibly as a friend. At one point he tries to help her by introducing her to the Trans-actional Analysis group that he attends. During an exercise called “yes, but,” Christine reveals that she has always dreamed of being married, and having children, with a career as a third place finisher.

The movie hints at mental illness as the cause for what befell this woman, but never really says what it was.

Personally, I look for patterns in stories, and I trust what my gut tells me about the available information. I know what I think possessed her. Some may call it a mental illness, others would call it an ideology.

There is one remaining fact however that sealed my suspicions about the nature of her “illness.” This was the way the director shot the final scene, which to me indicated that he too had come to a particular conclusion about the fate of this poor woman.

Viewers will have to decide for themselves what the truth may be. • (288 views)

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55 Responses to Movie Review: Christine (2016)

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This one is a new one to me, David. Thanks for the review.

    Personally, I look for patterns in stories, and I trust what my gut tells me about the available information. I know what I think possessed her. Some may call it a mental illness, others would call it an ideology.

    Specifically, what ideology?

    • David Norris says:

      Thanks Brad. I don’t want to do a spoiler alert. I feel like I have probably hinted too much already. Let me know how the story strikes you when you watch it.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Aha! I see you were playing coy and not just being unexpressive. 😀

        I noticed that this is playing on Netflix right now. I dumped the over-priced full-of-junk service month ago but on can still watch on my brother’s account.

        You’ve suckered me in, if only to now answer this one question. Clever dick.

        • David Norris says:

          Brad you always see through me. (lol)

          I quit Netflix for almost a year and then they offered me a free month to come back.

          How does the saying go? “Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.”

  2. Steve Lancaster says:

    Spoiler Alert

    I remember this story from the mid 70s. She is the reporter who shot herself on live TV. Ford pardoned Nixon about the same time and pushed it off the news. A friend who worked for KCRA in Sacramento told me that everyone at the station was grateful to Ford for his timing as the story of Christine suggested questions about media they did not want to deal with.

    Taking your own life is a difficult issue I think it most often deals with anger issues with the people intimate in the suicide’s life. A greater issue are the thousands of veterans and police who chose to take their own lives.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I wonder if this story was part of the inspiration for Network. I certainly don’t remember hearing about it, but it was probably mainly a local story.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I started watching this. In the first five minutes you can see she’s an obsessive. If you’re editing a change to a film story 3 minutes before it airs, you’re crazy.

    It’s interesting to see Dexter play sort of a Ted Baxter-ish character. If they ever do “Mary Tyler Moore: The Movie,” I’d cast him as Ted.

    I like her hand-puppet routine with the special needs kids. At least she’s more than just a rhetorical liberal who loves people but always in theory.

    Having her mother live with her is what killed her, made her sick, or just overall unbalanced her.

    I like the scene where (the barren, hard-driving “changing the world” liberal that she is) sees another young couple (obviously in love) and talks to them. She tells them “Don’t lose what you have” or something like that.

    This seems to be about Christine’s hard transition from a social justice “make a difference” idealist journalist warrior to a ratings whore. That’s what’s being set up right now if Christine wants to make it out of Podunk and get to a top-30 market.

    Christine takes to doing the grittier stories like a duck to water. She seems a natural. Her first story is about a pathetic man who sets his trailer on fire because of a lit cigarette. The smoke alarm went off. But he went back in to get his cigarettes and a couple canisters of something blew up.

    Christine’s boss seems 100% real. He’s a good character. Christine herself is a sympathetic character (at this point). She means to do well. She means to do positive on-air stories. But the lookie-loo mass mob in TV Land wants blood.

    I think women are the drivers of bad-news TV. I remember my own mother being addicted to it. She’d constantly lament about the awful stuff on TV….and then be blood to the set the next night.

    Very early-on I noticed the destructive cycle between viewer and PT Barnum journalist. That’s why there’s the [i]Thinking Outside the Daily Drama[/i] slogan at the top of the page. You can easily get into this loop and — tuh dah! — become a de facto liberal whereby you are perpetually aggrieved.

    I’m 1:10 into this and Christine is starting to change from the just nervous, obsessive TV journalist to an all-out toxic female. It’s actually getting hard to watch. I was watching this during lunch and just had to turn it off. There’s only so much of her toxicity I can handle.

    But I’ll go the distance. I’ve got to give Rebecca Hall full credit for breathing life (toxic though it may be) life into this part She’s terrific, as is her boss.

    At this point I’m thinking, “Why does she rate a movie?” I’m going to assume at some point she shoots the place up or something.

    • David Norris says:

      Brad – Did you notice in the scene with the couple having dinner that while Christine is talking to them she keeps feeling the ring finger on her left hand…for the ring that isn’t there?

      Yes I agree, her idealistic liberal school training comes into conflict with the real world, and this, in my opinion, is part of what begins to fracture her.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I don’t know if I specifically noticed that. But its an interesting bit of depth for a character who could have been made paper-thin. Whether she turns out to be “the career girl who pays the price” for success or not, we shall see.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Spoilers. Lots of spoilers.

    It’s hard to pinpoint any particular ideology the led to Christine’s suicide. She just seemed to be wound too tightly.

    I don’t remember this event from the 70’s. Steve had some good comments on this, including:

    Taking your own life is a difficult issue I think it most often deals with anger issues with the people intimate in the suicide’s life.

    One of the most basic things about anger (long-term it becomes grievance, jealousy, bitterness, etc) is that in its basic essence it is about: Expectations not meeting reality.

    We were talking about Buddhism in conjunction with the movie, Seven Years in Tibet. Buddhism won’t tell you anything about how to become anchor on the nightly news at a major network. But it will help you to manage expectations.

    One of the things that occurs to me (a lesson slowly learned, but perhaps only half learned even now) is that it’s okay to not fit in with wherever you’re trying to fit in. Give it a shot. If it just runs too much against your grain, don’t beat your head against the wall.

    Persistence is a virtue. But out of context with the other virtues, it is destructive. It would be silly to tell Sean Hannity that he shouldn’t have suffered all the pains he did to get to the top. It would be silly to tell that to Tom Brady as well.

    But these cases are the exceptions that are not the rule. Very few make it to the elite positions. And to get there, you have to ride the tiger. You have to dehumanize yourself. You have to become a competitive animal. Nothing can become larger than your advancement.

    Frank Sinatra has just the song for this situation.

    Christine was playing the “all or nothing at all” game.

    It’s is completely and 100% true that our entire society is based on inadequacy. They couldn’t sell us (and we wouldn’t buy) all these products if we were satisfied with who we are. The economy is based upon being dissatisfied. Take that to the bank when you hear some glib slogan about how fulfilled and happy one is. Nope. This culture would crash and burn if people were happy. Look at those c-word women at the State of the Union. They are us. They represent us. Unhappy. Bitter. Angry. Never enough. Wanting to destroy what is outside because of how barren what is inside.

    I didn’t end up having much sympathy for Christine. And not because she apparently rejected the attempts to help her. It’s because she never even stopped to consider that there were other options. Winning for her was the ideology, if we can call it one, that was her doom.

    But look at the way she worked with kids. Listen, I know intimately the type. They will not allow themselves to do what they’re good at and just be happy — if it means making less money, and particularly if it is less gratifying to the ego.

    These are difficult lessons to learn. And there is no one in the culture talking about it to any extent. Go to church and you’ll learn that what God really wants for you is material prosperity.

    This is why monks historically took a vow of poverty. You couldn’t be close to what really mattered while you were chasing gold. Obviously amongst the lay population, we must balance these things. Progress isn’t bad. Hard work and perseverance aren’t bad. But it’s almost certain that people are rope-a-doped into the accumulation culture without even a thought that they are steeped in it. There is little consideration of whether that is a worthy focus of their time.

    I would have liked to talk to Christine. I might have told her something like: Talk to someone outside of the hamster wheel you are stuck in now. Gain some perspective. And realize most of all that you have made “winning” your idol. You’ve reduced the possibility of living with the real you, one who is fallible, imperfect, and not always at the top.

    She would have been better off getting off the hamster wheel and becoming a special education teacher. She could have used her journalistic skills to do something worthy. She never understood that TV could never be a vehicle for the enrichment of mankind. It is a vulgar, voyeuristic medium.

    I now have the same thoughts about online. With all due respect to the core of good people here, I was wrong to believe that anything particularly good could come from an online effort. Oh, I’m not giving up, And I’m nowhere near using a puppet gun. But I’ve had to adjust my expectations. Most of you out there are lazy, self-centered bums. If I accept that, I can get on with things and make use of, and have fun with, the things that do work.

    Such as movie reviews.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Most of you out there are lazy, self-centered bums. If I accept that, I can get on with things and make use of, and have fun with, the things that do work.

      Don’t hold back Brad. Tell us what you really think!

      Being a self-centered bum is easy. Not to be, takes a lot of work, so your comment about being lazy is on the mark.

      But I can understand self-centered bumness(?), what I can’t take is the shear avalanche of ignorance and stupidity one encounters on most of the websites I have seen. It is staggering. ST is truly an outlier, with a good amount of thoughtful and interesting comments. By the way, the comments are generally better than the articles. In fact, these days, the main reason I write anything is to elicit comments from which I might learn something.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Don’t hold back Brad. Tell us what you really think!

        LOL. I praise all those here who have tapped their inner Hemingway (or Dickinson) and have contributed because the writing bug hit them, because they wanted to share something we might call “medium culture” (as opposed to “high culture” which might be a little pretentious and hifalutin).

        Oh, hell, high culture is welcome as well. But leave your attitude at home. Remember that your own excrement stinks. Don’t try to impress people just for the purpose of impressing. Get over yourself. Have fun.

        We can have some sympathy for Christine, Mr. Kung, if we consider that she took today’s race-to-the-top nothing-else-matters culture to its natural conclusion. Consider how many unborn children are sacrificed on the dark alleyway of success.

        Granted, this was also likely a woman’s scorn. But I was truly surprised when instead of going postal and taking out half the newsroom, she turned the gun on herself. That’s not proper revenge. I mean, don’t kill them, but wing a couple of them. (A couple deserved it.) That would get the message across all the same and you could live (although in prison) to tell about it.

        By the way, the comments are generally better than the articles.

        This is why I stupidly thought this site would work as a political commentary site. The comments around the web are always better than the articles, with some rare exceptions (Steyn, Prager, a few elites). But I always had one foot in seriousness and one foot in just having a blast and not taking things too seriously.

        But human beings just cannot let go of trying TO BE SOMEONE. I say, give your best shot, the words direct from your soul, and then let the chips fall as they may, let the dog have its day, let the world beat a path to your better mousetrap.

        But darned if people aren’t people. Probably always has been so. But I can’t help thinking that today’s pop culture has ratcheted up 3 notches the desire to BE SOMEBODY. “I YouTube, therefore I am.” It just becomes all too much. One’s humanity is lost. Not only that, one becomes boring, stilted, and dull. One becomes just another chimp chasing the bananas.

        Just take a look at any news or entertainment show. They’re basically either freaks or just bizarre people. Real? Real? Oh, god no. There’s no real on TV or online.

        But I like to think we elicit a little of the real here, the homespun, the patchwork quilt, the Normal Rockwell shades of blue, red, and white. The cuts of meat that aren’t baloney.

        But this isn’t an easy idea to get across to people. You get it. Steve gets it for sure. Others get it. Do what you like to do, think the thoughts you like to think, write and share whatever it is that pleases you. And DON’T GIVE A FLYING EFF what anyone else thinks. You might receive praise or criticism. Treat them as just different sides of the same coin.

        One thing about this movie I didn’t like and it was the casting of that other main chick who was sorta Christine’s friend and sorta her rival. Bland. Dull. Yuck. Just no pulse there. I kept thinking what a great job Jennifer Jason Leigh would have done with that role. Maria Dizzia is just dizzily dull.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      I haven’t watched the movie, don’t think I will. I have known a few people who worked in television and it is an extremely ego driven business. Observing from the outside that seems apparent but from the inside I believe it is so much worse, and unless a person is very stable emotionally it is dangerous.

      I don’t know what the suicide rate is among reporters and on air news readers, but I suspect it is higher than the national average. I would also be willing to bet that the divorce rate and alcohol and drug abuse is much higher.

      Unstable relationships, drugs, booze and egos the size of Montana–what could go wrong?

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        No, this is not an uplifting movie. I would recommend it only in regards to watching the lead actress who is terrific. And in our own miserable way, I think we all have a little Christine in us. How we handle competition, disappointment, and the wall of our own personality will vary. So far no gun-puppets but perhaps only by the grace of God is this so.

    • David Norris says:

      As is popular to say today, “there is so much to unpack here.”

      Brad to me this was a very powerful and disturbing movie, it effected me on many levels as I sense it has effected you as well.

      Not only do I know a Christine personally, I know dozens like her.

      Because they come from an earlier generation of converts, they may not dye their hair blue, wear pussy hats and screech in protest lines like is popular to do today, but they are Christine on the inside; bitter, lonely, and lost.

      I would call them casualties of a culture war that has been going on for decades. We rarely hear about them in the news unless they do something very dramatic, or are famous from celebrity. Many times their demise is written off quietly as ‘mental illness’.

      “I would have liked to talk to Christine. I might have told her something like: Talk to someone outside of the hamster wheel you are stuck in now”

      This is how I felt toward this poor child as well. Again, where was the father who could prepare her for the real world? Had he died, or was divorced? Was he ever in her life?

      When she left her mom to go to university, did the professors, her peers, and their ideology become her surrogate parent? Was it their authority she learned to follow? We know from all the exposes on American college campuses today what is going on there. It is no secret that many of them are indoctrination centers for anti-American Marxist thought…aka Feminism.

      Christine had clearly been ‘taught’ somewhere that being a wife and a mother was unimportant compared to the important ‘work that she must do for the people’.

      Her deepest instincts for motherhood had to be repressed over and over. How many women have been trained to think this way? How many women have been trained to become “bold, brave, strong, independent, women”? How many champion being single mothers who “don’t need a man”?

      At what cost?

      What happens to the boys of these matriarchs when they grow up? Do they wind up fearing and mistrusting females?

      Feminism is no longer about equality (if it ever was), and it really isn’t about helping women either, it is the creation of a narrative of oppression against women, targeting a boogey-man called “patriarchy”, and setting women on a search and destroy mission of American culture. It seeks to bring down all it’s institutions, and to abort the family as a meaningful foundation for a flourishing society.

      Beyond the destruction what is their end game? Power.

      There is so much to consider going on in this little, non-descript, and obscure film. Scratch the surface just a little bit, and you can smell the revolution.

      Finally there is that last scene in the movie, which took me back to my childhood when I heard the familiar theme-song of a popular TV sitcom heralding the arrival of the modern American woman.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Well, there’s a reason why I refer to feminists today as femocrats. Of course, as leftists they naturally are interested in power, not equality or any other “feminist” issue. Except abortion, which is an extension of the ultimate power (life or death).

        That is probably good advice, talking to people not in your bubble or not on your hamster wheel, at least on occasion.

        Incidentally, using the “aka feminism” for anti-American Marxist thought implies that feminism is the only such. I rather think it’s merely one example of it, not a synonym for it. There are many such identity politics philosophies taught in the leftist madrassas of the various “studies” courses.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        As is popular to say today, “there is so much to unpack here.”

        Indeed, David. And I’m a happy believer in “two heads are better than one.” You’ve brought up some good points.

        Because they come from an earlier generation of converts, they may not dye their hair blue, wear pussy hats and screech in protest lines like is popular to do today, but they are Christine on the inside; bitter, lonely, and lost.
        I would call them casualties of a culture war that has been going on for decades.

        In retrospect (and I knew it at the time too, but was in a bit of a rush), the movie has a somewhat whitewashed feel to it. They mention the word, “feminism,” just once. (I think it was used derisively by her boss to Christine.) But you watch this movie and you’re left with little context.

        And maybe it’s a simple as that. She blew a gasket. She was just mentally unstable. It’s hinted at that she had earlier problems, but they weren’t specific. And here we must cite 1 Timothy StubbornThings: “To be fair.” To be fair, men have been offing themselves for a long time in the competitive race to the top. When women are let into this same race, we ought to expect the same percentage of casualties. Or at least some percentage.

        It is certainly likely that women still face unreasonable obstacles in some areas (as do men), but they’ve constructed many of their own now. Their expectation is that if there simply are obstacles, it’s the result of sexism, etc. Feminism, rather than preparing women to be strong often makes them weak, bitchy, and angry. They’re expecting to be treated like princesses early and always while denying the very concept of the princess.

        But in the case of Christine, we’re left to be agnostic on any peripheral causes other than her unreasonable stridency.

        Again, where was the father who could prepare her for the real world?

        What did happen to the father? I don’t remember if he ran off, died, or whatever. But a couple times in the movie, Christine blamed her mother for not preparing her better for life. Perhaps she had a point. We can’t know. The film glossed over this. But it also came off as if Christine was a child-woman. Blaming the parents was unbecoming of her.

        It is no secret that many of them are indoctrination centers for anti-American Marxist thought…aka Feminism.

        There is no question that many women are being turned into angry, c-word hags by Marxism in the American universities, media, and entertainment culture. Ms Andry runs rampant. But, again, in the case of Christine, we have to remain agnostic. We don’t know. What we see of her is employment in a newsroom that is giving her every chance to succeed. But she insists on succeeding in her own way, no compromise.

        We then must quote Bruce Feirstein and note “The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.” Steve Jobs, for instance, was every bit as single-minded. He was personally a very nasty man. He was maniacal in his outlook and methods. He would explode in ways that made Christine look like a lightweight.

        But somehow, he became a success. Had Christine stuck with it, it’s possible she would have been the next Baba Wawa. But she seemed so fundamentally delicate in a certain way that tragedy seemed inevitable. It’s one thing to be single-minded, even maniacal. It’s another to be self-destructive.

        Steve Jobs, as far as I know, did not turn any disappointment inward. He kept battling the world at large with the belief that he was right. Christine, on the other hand, battled herself. She turned her disappointments inward. We all do to some extent, and must to a certain extent if we are ever to learn. But she took it to the extreme. All or nothing at all.

        Christine had clearly been ‘taught’ somewhere that being a wife and a mother was unimportant compared to the important ‘work that she must do for the people’.

        Her deepest instincts for motherhood had to be repressed over and over. How many women have been trained to think this way? How many women have been trained to become “bold, brave, strong, independent, women”? How many champion being single mothers who “don’t need a man”?

        All very well said. Probably that was the case in her case. I do believe (and we see this without a hint of ambiguity in the abortion issue) that women are turned against themselves. Again, we seem to need to remain agnostic about that in regards to Christine. The movie doesn’t intersect the subject. I think that’s what ultimately hurts it. I know that Sam Goldwyn said, “If you want to send a message, call Western Union.” But the movie feels thin and incomplete without an opinion on the subject of “What went wrong?”

        What apparently went wrong was she didn’t go for the ice cream treatment. I thought it was a ludicrously thin ending to see that other chick eating a bowl of strawberry ice cream. It made me think right then and there that they were afraid to death to even think about what might have gone wrong.

        But ending ending-wise, I loved the tie-in with The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Although Mary Tyler Moore was apparently anything but a man-hating radical feminist, that show did blaze the trail, and engrain the mindset, that the way through life for a woman was to have a career.

        I just think we’re playing dumb as a culture when we don’t expect some consequences from turning women from maternal machines into economic machines.

  5. David Norris says:

    Brad – about this statement:

    I was wrong to believe that anything particularly good could come from an online effort.

    Perhaps Stubborn Things has not lived up to earlier expectations that you had for it…yet, but we must not throw out the baby with the bath water.

    The ship I know and have come to love as Stubborn Things for me has been a God-send. A noble craft navigating the choppy seas of American culture. It has been a place where I can vent and practice some of my scratching’s, but more importantly I get to read the intelligent and inspiring words of some really excellent writers like Deanna who directed me hear several years ago.

    Then there is the Captain, holding it all together. He is approachable, he is responsible, and is fully engaged. Even though we sail in not the best of conditions, he continually makes the best of it.

    In my opinion Stubborn Things is a significant participant in the culture war we are engaged in here in the United States. Don’t forget!

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      Most of us who post on ST are of a generation that grew up with values. Our parents or grandparents were veterans of WWII and the depression. They came of age when the test, “of wether this nation or any nation so conceived can so endure”. ST is a part of the battlefield of a great war that will ultimately decide if the utopian or the tragic view of human culture will prevail.

      The election of DJT was a major setback for the cultural utopians, but not a defeat.The seeming popularity of socialist/communist philosophy among the democrat party is an indication of generations who do not have values, but esoteric positions the hoy poli are unable to comprehend. Obama’s comment on bitter clingers is one of the best examples.

      The pressure will not end until the enemies of liberty are totally defeated. In this sense it is a zero sum game. Either we win or they win there is no middle ground, “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Tom Paine fully understood the problem and the solution.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Most of us who post on ST are of a generation that grew up with values. Our parents or grandparents were veterans of WWII and the depression. They came of age when the test, “of wether this nation or any nation so conceived can so endure”.

        Indeed, Steve. Memories of our nation and culture are being erased as fast as possible. And then this is heralded as progress. To forget.

        Here we don’t forget. And if there is an ancillary use for this site (outside of our own use and pleasure), it would be as a beacon for others. We remember. We will help you remember. We will help you (if you ask) deal with the brainwashing you have already undergone.

        We are the American flag planted on the moon. We are the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. We are the Cherubim of glory guarding the Ark of the Covenant.

        We are also wise-asses who are often irreverent. Some flies can be caught with vinegar. But America has never been just one thing. But it had never until recently been an official thing to be regularly denounced, a punching-bag for all. The idea of taking one’s inner shortcomings and projecting them onto “society” is what kooks, lunatics, and feminists do. And it is done regularly now.

        Our culture of blame and “progress” never looks within for the answers. It’s all about finger-pointing. Either it’s someone else’s fault or a problem can be cured simply by “progressing” via some program or external treatment.

        This is insane. Truly insane. No one here is perfect. Admitting that is three-quarters of the battle. “I have things to learn.” Yes. We all do. And yet our culture is creating Snowflakes by the sky-full. We hand out so many gold stars for so little, there are few left in the heavens. They idea of earning is demonized and “deserving” is canonized.

        And there can be no doubt that our enemies must be defeated. We must understand that the Left — exactly like Islam — is incompatible with a free and prosperous society.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Today you probably have to be a wiseass to be the flag on the Moon. This includes pointing out that it’s the US flag, not a UN flag or any other.

          And, as Stephen King once ruefully admitted, sometime in the far future the only contemporary name remembered might be that of Richard Nixon, listed on a plaque on the Moon.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            This includes pointing out that it’s the US flag

            That reminds me, Timothy, to try to finish First Man. This is basically not “The Right Stuff.” So far it looks like a production of The Lifetime Channel. We get to see Neil Armstrong cry. He’s first and foremost a family man

            I think Armstrong (so far….it could get better) would be thoroughly embarrassed by this intrusive look into his family life. It just comes across as creepy to me.

            I don’t dislike Ryan Gosling. He’s been good in a couple things. But they should just have gone ahead and cast Ben Affleck and pull the Band-Aid off in one quick tug.

            But I’m sure this will get better when (and if) Armstrong is turned from First Husband into First Astronaut Man. But my hopes are not high for this one. I kinda feel like out of respect for Armstrong, I ought to just turn it off.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Then there is the Captain, holding it all together.

      Well, that’s very nice of you to say, David. And I’m certainly not fishing for compliments. I believe the opinions you find on StubbornThings are a good two years ahead of all the other places.

      And to run a tight ship, I have to hand out some lashes a time or two. I got disgusted a couple years back when my eyes regularly were glossing over reading the same vapid stuff. I could see that this entire game was becoming but The Daily Drama, an outlet for people not to share the best of themselves but the bitch of themselves.

      Enough. I had to turn the rudder. Unless one was going to report on what they, or someone they knew, was doing to materially battle the Left, I just didn’t want to read yet another almost pointless re-sifting of the facts.

      And what I discovered was that most people were willing to bitch about things but not actually to do anything. Pat is almost our lone exception. He’s reported from the front lines. He’s testified in the state Capitol. He’s organized people on the ground.

      No, not everyone can do that. But for goodness sakes, if one is not doing that, I say spare us all (and oneself) the grief of repeating ad nauseam what we already know. Either tell us how you’re working to change things or just go elsewhere to bitch.

      So we scraped a few barnacles off the ship. Oh, we still do talk some politics. There’s nothing with that. But the Captain will continue to hand out lashes when he thinks it’s becoming a sport disconnected from events themselves.

      I’ve been around the net a time or two and most sights are run by Little Napoleons. Or, to mesh better with the analogy, Captain Blighs. But I come from the rather radical notion: I don’t know everything. I am not in the crow’s nest. I can’t see everything. Others have a clearer vision toward some particular horizon.

      Given that there is almost no place where you can speak your mind without being drowned out by idiots — including Republican idiots — this place is a bit like Pitcairn Island. You’re not going to find it unless you stumble upon it. We’re not over-populated by intellectualoids. National Review, for instance, is so smart that they know almost nothing. Except for VDH and a few other instances, they say little of relevance. They just sift facts. And as often as not, they tell us why it’s a bad idea to oppose the Left.

      We can never find a quiet harbor in which to stayed permanently moored. In order to see the world, we must brave the waves and weather. But we can surely do without the types who bail buckets of water into the ship. And when foul winds do blow, movies make for a particularly interesting and refreshing way to engage them.

      However, hoist the topgallant, Mr. Norris. I think a fair wind is beginning to blow.

  6. David Norris says:

    Having raised anchor I say, “Aye, aye Captain!” On to new adventures in mysterious lands with Gods grace to guide us.”

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      David, over the last 5 years and more I’ve read a lot of seafaring novels, mainly by Jack London and most of the Hornblower series. I may someday move onto the Master & Commander series.

      It’s such a fun thing to imagine that these guys who went out to sea were like astronauts….perhaps even more so. Their discoveries were greater, their risks were greater, and arguably the rewards were greater. Getting aboard a ship was like being launched into an oceanic cosmos.

      You can read about the efforts of the American space program. And those books (and movies) are interesting. I’ve read a couple. But it basically comes down to vomiting during the rigorous pre-flight physical training and then flipping a lot of switches during the mission — within the confines of a tiny capsule. It’s just doesn’t have the same mystique and interest as a three-masted ship-of-the-line with dolphins riding her bow wave.

      Our journey through life, on this earth, is a voyage into the unknown as well. Our mortal vessels are here, and there, and then we know not where. But we presume they travel on as does this rather large ship (Earth) that sails through blackness with us. (Given the reality of the solar wind, perhaps the analogy isn’t completely beached.)

      We’re rather leaderless as conservatives….or just call us old-fashioned Americans, if you will. And it grieves me to see so many of our supposed shipmates doing exactly what we very self-consciously note about the Left: Making everything into politics.

      Whatever caused Christine such angst — and she may simply have had a screw loose — we had better watch over ourselves lest we fall into the maelstrom of The Daily Drama..

      Hey, if someone wants to do something meaningful to combat the Left, I’m all for it. Please write about it and share your story. But otherwise, frankly, lower your sail. I don’t want to hear it. Or steer for open ocean and new horizons. Too many people are caught on the rocks.

      Sea Fever

      I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
      And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
      And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
      And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
      I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
      Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
      And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
      And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
      I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
      To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
      And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
      And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

      I don’t remember which Star Trek episode it was when I first heard part of that poem as recited by Kirk. But it’s a good one. There’s a poetry to life — or ought to be. I don’t necessarily mean painting pretty pictures, although there are such marvelous people with the talent to do just that. But when our religion is our politics, we are left barren. This is why the Left is barren.

      We must steer by something other than The Daily Drama. We can bring some artfulness to life, however strained and stilted at first. But that wind will strengthen and bring us along. Never surrender to the cynicism and anger.

      I say this, I repeat this, because I need to hear this too. If we just drift, our minds can’t help but drift toward the rocks of cultural shallowness and vulgarity. We must make constant, if gentle, course corrections

      And certainly I have enough hot air to be probeled forward by a naut or two.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        We had that poem in 6th grade, and I remember Kirk quoting a bit of it to McCoy (the second verse, I think). I didn’t recall the episode, but wikipedia identifies it as “The Ultimate Computer” — which, by odd chance, is the first episode I saw of the series.

        I’ve read all the Hornblower novels as well as Forester’s The Hornblower Companion, and also many of the Aubrey/Maturin novels. I’ve also read some true accounts, including Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast (my father suggested it to me when I was a kid, which no doubt was too early to fully appreciate it) as well as Raphael Semmes’s memoirs of the War of the Rebellion and a history of the CSS Shenandoah. Plus a number of naval histories, including short biographies of people as far back as the Dutch admirals Tromp and De Ruyter.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I found the clip of that on YouTube.

          Sure, Shatner had his style. But I disagree with those who say he couldn’t act. One commenter confirms that it was a scene from The Ultimate Computer. (M-5….the experimental Multitronic System that goes haywire. Must have been a Microsoft product.)

          Great performance by William Marshall as Dr. Richard Daystrom. Fits with this movie review. He was wound a little tight as well. Perhaps the best line is from Spock at the end of this:

          MCCOY: He’ll have to be committed to a total rehabilitation centre. Right now he’s under sedation and heavy restraints.
SPOCK: I would say his multitronic unit is in approximately the same condition.

          Vulcan humor? Yes! Yes!

          They have Two Years Before the Mast for free at Gutenberg. I’ll put this on my Deep Reading List.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Booker Marshall, who I think was William Marshall’s brother and certainly looked a lot like him, also appeared on Star Trek as a doctor specializing in medical care for Vulcans.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Oh, yeah. That guy. That could well be his brother. There’s a general resemblance.

              According to Memory Alpha, he was in two episodes: “A Private Little War” (with the Mugato ape creature) and “The Which Survives” (Lee Meriwether).

              The former is a terrific episode. The latter has its merits but is pretty far-fetched.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                I remember seeing him listed as Booker T. Marshall in an early reference work, most likely David Gerrold’s book on the series (he also did one on his own episode, “The Trouble With Tribbles”).

                “A Private Little War” is indeed the episode I was particularly thinking of. He plays a very significant role there. I agree with you about the episode, which was something of an allegory about the Vietnam War.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    David suspects some deeper themes (feminism) running through Christine’s life. I think this is self-evidently so, even if the movie stayed silent.

    One big clue is that Christine looked like your typical liberal. She could not laugh. She had no sense of humor. JHC, I would have gone nuts by now with puppet-guns shooting all over the blazes if I couldn’t laugh.

    And I’ve found this to be one of the truisms of liberals. They have lost the ability to laugh. They take everything so SERIOUSLY. It’s what where cult programs into them.

    Beware: Many conservatives have caught this same bug as well. That’s one reason I had no problem leaving Facebook behind.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This goes back a long way, and the problem most notably is an inability to laugh at (or even recognize) parodies of their politics. Back in the 1960s, Isaac Asimov was very unhappy with Al Capp when the later started mocking Phony Joanie and the Students Wildly Indignant about Nearly Everything instead of General Bullmoose. If Capp had mocked Asimov himself the latter probably would have laughed, but mocking leftists was a different matter.

      Former Louisville libertarian Pat McCray, in his Elvis Shrugged, had a character looking at a map that didn’t match what she was seeing and saying it was “as useless as a sense of humor at a NOW convention”.

      Q: How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?
      A: One — and that’s not funny!

      One wonders how many leftists, reading the Green New Deal’s mention of how long it will take to get rid of “farting cows and airplanes”, would see why conservatives would mock it by wondering when airplanes fart.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      It is one of the many things that make progressive/communists what they are. Perhaps there is a hospital in some super secret location that removes the sense of humor. I noticed today that it has been 45 years since Blazing Saddles was released. It is impossible to even talk about making a movie like it, let alone actually making it.

      Humorlessness is everywhere, even among my people. The Jewish stand up comic is a thing of the past, and sorry to say, so is iconoclastic Christian humor. I wonder what passes for humor in Islamic culture; is it possible for them to laugh at themselves? Jokes with an ethnic, racial or cultural theme are no longer done. Instead the focus is on drugs and sex, getting more offensive and humorless by the day.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        “One more move and the nigger gets it!” You mean that kind of humor? No way you could do it today, even though the racist townsfolk are the butt of the joke. Asimov had such a joke in his Treasury of Humor and felt a bit guilty about using it because it seemed to say that Jews are bad and blacks even worse — but, as in Cleavon Little’s bluff, the joke was on the racist. I think I’ll repeat it here since I’m no doubt the only one here who’s read it, and I think you’ll like it:

        A Southern matron during World War II wanted to do something for the soldiers in the nearby army base, so she called them up to invite 3 to her Thanksgiving Dinner. She reminded the sergeant taking the call not to include any Jews.

        Came the day, and 3 fine black soldiers showed up in full uniform for the dinner. She stammered, “There must be some mistake.” “Oh, no, ma’am,” one answered. “Sergeant Cohen never makes any mistakes.”

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I noticed today that it has been 45 years since Blazing Saddles was released. It is impossible to even talk about making a movie like it, let alone actually making it.

        Maybe there’s a slight hope, Steve. I read an article at RedState that Mattel is distancing the Barbie brand from feminism.

        This overabundance of “sensitivity” is ruining us. What we need is a good dose of Don Rickles.

        One day an angel appeared to Adam. The angel said, “Adam, I’ve got great news. God is going to create something wonderful for you.” Adam said, “Oh, what is it?

        The angel said, “It’s not an “it,” it’s a “she.” God is going to make something called a woman.” Adam said, “Go on.”

        The angel continued, “This is going to be wonderful. This woman will be made to be a lot like you physically, only much more beautiful. She will live to serve you at all times. When you are tired, she’ll give you a massage. When you are hungry, she’ll feed you. She’ll come and bow down to you in the morning and when you return from working in the garden in the evening. She’ll live to serve your every pleasure each day.”

        “In addition,” the angel continued, “she will never argue with you or complain. She wont nag you or talk back to you either. For every command you give her, she’ll simply reply, “yes master.” She’ll clean your house, and tend to your every desire.”

        Adam had a sparkle in his eye and said with excitement, “Wow, that sounds amazing. I’d really like to have something like that. But what’s it going to cost me?” The angel said, “Well Adam, it’s going to cost you your right arm, and a leg.”

        Adam thought about it for a while, and then replied, “What can I get for just a rib?”

        • David Norris says:

          Lol! Don Rickles was a master.

          Brad you reminded me of a question that I wanted to ask. Are there any women out there, who are regular or occasional visitors to Stubborn Things, and who have seen “Christine”?

          I would appreciate hearing their take on this film.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    We’ll remind the ladies then that this is available right now on Netflix in hopes of getting a woman’s opinion on the film as David suggests.

    What the movie also remains silent on is what effect, if any, this had on the careers of the two people who were promoted to Baltimore (assuming that went through). Did Christine achieve some kind of posthumous revenge? What effect did this have on the station manager? It must have been horrible for him. Again, no aftermath. It stays oddly silent. All we get is that stupid chick eating a bowl of ice-cream at the end.

    Yes, but….which was a funny segment unto itself. I thought we were in California not Florida for a moment when Dexter ambushed Christine and took her to that transcendental-whatever therapy in the high school gym. What a presumptuous jerk. Still, like true-believers everywhere high on whatever religion they have, the wish is to share it and to help others. And if it it works for them, indeed, why not others?

    I’m sure that any ladies watching this would note that Christine had all the maternal warmth of an ice cube. It’s strange to see the flip-side of the light-hearted (but still very much competitive) TV newsroom of WJM in Minneapolis where one girl did indeed “make it after all.” That series began in September of 1970. Christine Chubbuck commits on-air suicide in the prime of that show in July of 1974.

    This article has some background (or at least gives an opinion). Rather than problems at work, her mother says that it was something else: “Her suicide was simply because her personal life was not enough”.

    Let’s see a show of hands. Whose personal life is not enough? It’s called “the human condition.” The central reason we long to believe in crazy utopian schemes such as socialism is because we refuse to deal with Basic Reality #1: Life is never enough, we’re never happy enough, we never have enough, no matter where, when, who, or how. It’s interesting that Mary Richards was professionally successful but her personal life was always on the edge of unfulfilling.

    To some extent, that bowl of strawberry ice cream (an idea I think completely botched by the film makers) is indeed part of the solution: Enjoy the simple pleasures. Mary throws her hat into the air and enjoys the simple pleasure of the day. (To my mind, the stupid ice cream scene at the end was that the answer to all life’s problems is some form of self-therapy as in Dexter’s transcendental gym “yes, but” method.)

    Christine is by no means alone. The hallmark of our society right now is that never before has any age of mankind had so much material comfort, leisure, and ease. But by the behavior of a large segment of our population (particularly women), you’d think it was the worst age.

    Suicides happen for a variety of reasons. Some people are mentally fragile, perhaps through no fault of their own. We needn’t necessary make Christine a Sign of the Times. But if we can’t take from that incident a message for ourselves (something the wimpy filmmakers refused to do), then we’re not human.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      A parody of things like the transcendental meditation class (and other things) can be found in a scene in Sweet Charity. Charity’s boyfriend takes her to the Religion of the Month Club, which has Sammy Davis, Jr. as “Daddy” presenting the religion of the Rhythm of Life. It’s almost explicitly fraudulent (“And the voice said, Daddy, there’s a million pigeons waiting to be hooked on new religions”), but the attendees don’t care.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Actually, the technique that we see isn’t all that bad. It gets people to examine what they’re really thinking, doing, and hoping for. The therapy was played one-on-one with a partner. The partner would ask a question or make a comment. The one being mind-probed was to start each reply with “Yes, but.” Such as this:

        Timothy: Brad, you complain a lot about the content of this site becoming too political.

        Brad: Yes, but I think we should literally put those Democrat Congresswomen in white straightjackets and put them in the Psychoneurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous and let Nurse Diesel look after them.

        Timothy. Surely you jest, although there must be some truth in what you say.

        Brad: Yes, but Arthur Brisbane (who believed he was a Cocker spaniel) probably would have made a better legislator.

        Timothy: You seem fixated on fantasy as a way of explaining reality. Do you ever get the two confused?

        Brad: Yes, but reality is so often fantastically silly and bizarre, any momentary confusion goes unnoticed and is generally inconsequential.

        Timothy: Don’t you suppose that Nurse Ratched would be a better caregiver for these deranged Marxist ladies?

        Brad: Yes, but her rates are too high. Nurse Diesel works cheap. Besides, she’s as disturbed as they are. They should get along.

        And so on.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          A parody, I suppose, but also a very accurate at least as far as describing the reality of leftism goes. Let She Guevara explain farting airplanes to Nurse Diesel. (Actually, that one implies that She Guevara has very interesting farts. English can be a fun language.)

    • Gibblet says:

      I don’t watch dark movies, but I would be happy to offer an opinion based on nothing but my feelings, preconception, and predilections.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Thanks for my laugh of the day.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I don’t blame you about not wanting to watch dark movies, Gibblet. But except for the one moment when she does the deed, it’s more of an uptight career girl movie. It’s Mary Tyler Moore in a dark parallel universe. (Cue the music, Johnny):

        Who can sap the newsroom of its fun?
        Who can take a non-promotion
        And suddenly have you dodging a gun?

        Well, it’s you witch and you really blew it
        Just take a Valium, and then you should chew it

        Blood is all around, no need to tape it
        Sarasota is the town, no need to escape it
        You might not break up after all

        [Fade to her throwing her puppet-gun into the air in a busy midtown crosswalk]

  9. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    The central reason we long to believe in crazy utopian schemes such as socialism is because we refuse to deal with Basic Reality #1: Life is never enough, we’re never happy enough, we never have enough, no matter where, when, who, or how.

    Life can never be enough which is why humans need something bigger and outside of it to fill the void. I still maintain that utopian leftism comes from either the loss of belief in God, or mental illness. Particularly in the later case, there is little that can be achieved by discussion. The basic situation must first be addressed and corrected.

    • Steve Lancaster says:

      If you haven’t read it check out Thomas Sowell, Conflict of Visions.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Thanks for the recommendation. I read the Wikileaks piece on it and it sounds like Sowell’s basic idea is like that which our poly sci professor told us regarding the basic difference between a conservative and a liberal. The difference was how each viewed mankind. These views pretty much matched Sowell’s “constrained” and “unconstrained.”

        All I can say is that given all of human history, anyone who holds the “unconstrained” vision of mankind (as defined by Sowell) has to be mentally unbalanced. I think it is probably truer to say that such nuts believe that once they can exterminate all us “bad” people, the “good” people will all sit together and sing kumbaya. Even after this takes place, they will have to cull “bad” people on a constant basis, but individual life has never been of particular value to the “unconstrained” types. They love humanity, but don’t much like people.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          It’s the collective vs. the individual. Conservatives think in terms of individuals, leftists in terms of groups. This applies to allocating rights and justice as well. Of course, this difference is primarily American; elsewhere conservatives can be far more collectivist than they are in America today. And of course liberals used to be individualist.

          I believe Sowell did 3 different books covering the differences between left and right. You might want to check out The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Policy.

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          It can also be thought of in the terms of utopian/tragic view of life. Somewhere between the two is where I think most of humanity is. Striving for one, reconciled to the other.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            The link it to an excellent article by Theodore Dalrymple, which details how resentment can be a strong political motivator. I almost included “resentment” in my previous blog as one of the main motivators of leftist politics, but didn’t because I believe, in the degree which Dalrymple describes it, it is a mental problem.


            • Timothy Lane says:

              I would say that resentment often leads to the hate that is usually at the heart of identity politics. Just think of black race-baiting as an example.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          “I think it is probably truer to say that such nuts believe that once they can exterminate all us “bad” people, the “good” people will all sit together and sing kumbaya. Even after this takes place, they will have to cull “bad” people on a constant basis, but individual life has never been of particular value to the “unconstrained” types. They love humanity, but don’t much like people.

          Here are some thoughts by that vicious Jacobin St. Just which would tend to confirm my above thoughts.

          You have to punish not only the traitors, but even those who are indifferent; you have to punish whoever is passive in the republic, and who does nothing for it.”

          He thought the only way to create a true republic was to rid it of enemies, to enforce the “complete destruction of its opposite.”

          “The vessel of the Revolution can arrive in port only on a sea reddened with torrents of blood.”

          He urged the deputies to embrace the notion that “a nation generates itself only upon heaps of corpses.”

          How can one not stand in awe of such self-righteous cruelty? Thank God St. Just got justice at the age of 26 when his head was parted from his body. Vive le 9 Thermidor II.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Oof. I knew he was a Jacobin leader, one of the big 4 along with Robespierre (also guillotined by the Directory), Danton (guillotined by his fellow Jacobins for not being murderous enough), and Marat (executed in his bath by Charlotte Corday, who was then guillotined for her efforts). I didn’t realize how bad he was, but I’ll bet one could find similar quotes from Robespierre and Marat.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Speaking of Dexter, who plays a sort of Ted Baxter in Christine, on the advice of my younger brother I watched the Netflix series Safe with Michael C. Hall as the main character. The only other face I recognize is that of Amanda Abbington who plays a cop. I likely saw her in the Mr. Selfridge series. She also played Miss Blake in the Poirot episode, “Cat Among the Pigeons.”

    This is a strong cast all-around. There’s some good dark humor in this as well. But otherwise this is a conventional “the dirty underbelly of polite society” sort of series. And the way it’s told is snappy and creative. But the series goes on too long (8 episodes) and starts basically repeating itself by about episode 5. But things do pick up a little here and there through 7 and 8.

    This is a fairly tame drama by cable or streaming standards. No nudity. Little violence. You just get the ubiquitous f-words here and there. This is so plot-driven I can’t say much more about it. But do expect your typical soap opera that is considerably padded but still above average for the genre.

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