An American Crime


Trailer of An American Crime

Unable to sleep I came across the film An American Crime. I read the brief information provided and learned the stars were Catherine Keener and Ellen Page so I decided to watch. I had never heard of the production or the true story of Sylvia Likens (Page) and what was considered the most horrible documented crime on an individual in the history of Indianapolis.

I watched with a knot in my stomach that just kept twisting as the film became more macabre, vicious and frightening, it was almost unbelievable. Unfortunately what I was watching was true and extremely tame compared to the actual crimes perpetrated on Sylvia by Gertrude Baniszewski (Keener). The film inter-cut between the courtroom testimony of the other five children and Sylvia’s own sister who were being cared for by “Gertie.” What I saw was so difficult that this is not going to be a film review at this time, but my reaction.

As soon as the film was over I googled the story and found myself reading various newspaper and journal articles. I wanted an answer as to how this could happen? I also wanted to know what the value was in making such a horrific, terrifying film? Only one conclusion made sense and both stars echoed the sentiment that her story needed to be told. Perhaps because it is so disturbing, it may make someone do something if ever they suspect that abuse is going on. Finally to remind people that Sylvia is just one precious life struck down by cruel, mentally unfit adults, scared children and seriously flawed judgement by so many others who could have, with one word saved this girls life.

No one said a thing as screams emanated from that house. Children told parents who either did not believe it or somehow ignored it for whatever reason. And neighbors, who heard just stayed to themselves. This is the crime which boils my blood as much as the torture Sylvia endured and that is the stark reality with which people live.

Ellen Page’s performance is heartbreaking and I wonder how one might be mentally able to sustain work in such a role.  I can’t imagine it not being something that will haunt her on some level.  Keener, although played with restraint is demonic, depraved, desperate and cruel.  In reconciling whether to do the film (which she originally refused) she finally decided that as a mother she had to. 

While we were laughing it up and watching Juno, Page was making a film quite different, important and controversial.  This is not for everyone.  It is a true crime story played out in gruesome fashion.  Yet for the Sylvia’s who lived and died this way perhaps it should be seen and discussed. 

 Copyright ©2008 Veronica Romm

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“What can be worse than the total agony of being in love?”


In the spirit of the holiday season…

“What can be worse than the total agony of being in love?”As spoken by an eleven year old from a line in the film, Love Actually. If you pause for one second and think about it, isn’t love the absolute worst thing ever? I mean it is sheer torture yet it is vital and what we all live for ultimately. Some say it’s not Love but Sex that we do all the work for i.e. Sigmund Freud, but I don’t think he had that one quite figured out.

The absence of love can create the most distressing feelings inside. Sadness, loneliness, the shallow feeling of hating the couple walking hand in hand in front of you on the street. What a nightmare. Yet when in love that couple barely exists for the focus is not on them, but on your own hand in that of your loved ones. Total nonsense I think, turns us into absolute jerks doesn’t it?What is it about love that can have you raging in anger and reeling from joy in the matter of minutes? How is it that we, seemingly rational human beings allow ourselves such beastly behavior? I know its chemical and I know we can’t help it, but why do we put ourselves through it time and again?

Why do we let love in, and then let it ravage us so completely often leaving us in tatters and destroyed? Then as time passes we consciously (or not) do it all over again, risking the same awful result? As adults are we not to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them. When we touch the super hot radiator, don’t we actively avoid it so as not to burn again?

What makes love different? I want to know what you think. I am clearly at a loss because I am responsible for the horrid behavior I speak of. Please share your thoughts with me. Maybe together we can solve this Love thing once and for all? Highly unlikely but worth a shot, no?

End Quote

” Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”

Albert Einstein

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Tennis and Poetry: “If” recited by Federer and Nadal


Combining some of my favorite things i.e.  poetry, tennis, and tennis players.  This Wimbledon promo is simply a fortunate find.  Without further ado, I present Roger and Rafa reciting Rudyard Kipling’s “IF” which adorns the entrance to center court at Wimbledon. 

 

 

IF
by Rudyard Kipling

(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
 

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On MLK’s Birthday


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I Have a Dream Speech

Happy Birthday! Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to a cause he felt was worth fighting, yet he never believed in violence. He was one of the greatest orators, but he was reluctant and could be shy. People oppressed saw in him the possibility. He gave them hope, for he was brave and determined. He led a march on Washington that changed the world, although he may not have seen it that way at the time. He is the voice of many today as he was the day he uttered the words “I have a dream.” And did he ever? This year in one day the first Black President awaits his inauguration and I think that MLK would be so proud as his dream seems now not so far fetched.

His words are inspiring, poetic and proud. These passages are my personal favorite. What are yours?

  • I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
  • I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
  • I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
  • This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
  • And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
  • And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

REPOST: I ask you to share your favorite passages from this speech or any of Martin Luther King Jr. extensive statements, thoughts or photos. Today we remember a man who was brave enough to give his life to a cause he knew he would never see resolved. He was undeterred, focused and therefore a target and threat for those who could not see his vision and did not share his enlightenment. So today, those of us who believe in this man, husband, father, preacher, brilliant leader and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, celebrate his life and tireless work he did for us all. May he rest in peace.

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