Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Losing our cultural & literary heritage, bit-by-bit: Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn

I have a ton of material to drop here over the next ten days or so that I couldn't post when it originally happened or occurred to me, due to some recent computer problems, so if some of this seems a bit old, it can't be helped.

Still, I suspect that if you're one of my usual discerning readers, you'll still appreciate that the facts are what is most important, not when you found out about it.

Today, much later than I originally planned, I'm initiating a new recurring feature on this blog that I believe will largely speak for itself, though I will likely have some comments anyway:
"Losing our cultural & literary heritage, bit-by-bit."

Everything else being equal, the feature will be about the very idea that some important aspects of our collective history and culture are continually being miscast, misinterpreted or "misremembered," to use the word that Roger Clemens used so famously.

Sometimes that happens by accident or mistake, of course, but at other times, when I think it's being done intentionally and disingenuously to advance a particular point of view, especially a political one, I'll write here about
why I think someone's mendaciously trying to blur the facts that we should all be familiar with.

At least, those of us paying attention to what's going on around us -and history.

And do I ever have a lot of ammunition for this new feature, too, a lot of it political. I welcome suggestions from readers who want more people to know what they've discovered to their dismay.

In this particular case today, how does the New York Times forget something so important to our understanding about Huck Finn, since Widow Douglas was one of the few people in the story whose opinion of him actually mattered to Huck?



New York Times

September 23, 2010


A critic’s notebook on Saturday about an exhibition on Mark Twain at the Morgan Library & Museum, and the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, misidentified the home in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” where Huck felt discomfort. It was Widow Douglas’s — not Aunt Polly’s, where Tom Sawyer lived.



"My Huckleberry friend..."

Only one of the greatest songs ever:
Moon River, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, music by Henry Mancini.
Appearing in one of my favorite films: Breakfast at Tiffany's, which I've seen dozens of times.
Sung by one of my favorite actresses: Audrey Hepburn, whose every film I've seen at least once, and many of them, dozens of times, like my personal favorite, Funny Face, with Fred Astaire.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

When Moon River came on during a crucial character development scene in Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July, when Tom Cruise's Ron Kovic was running in the rain to be at the high school prom with Kyra Segdwick's Donna, I actually started crying in the movie theater. (For the record, at an absolutely jammed Saturday afternoon performance at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C., about the tenth row, right in the middle.)
It was movie magic -perfect!
Actual genius!

That great scene I've described is in the first video clip below.

Born on The Fourth of July

That's the thing about film director and political provocateur Oliver Stone.
He really, really, really knows how to manipulate you -e
ven when you know he is.
But his politics aside, there's no denying his genius talent.

That's Stone at 4:58 in the video above as the reporter interviewing the general about how he thinks the Americans will do in Vietnam.

Stone won the Academy Award for Best Directing for the film, which also earned Tom Cruise an Oscar Best Acting nomination, and deservedly so for both of them.

It's a classic piece of film-making that remains gripping.

Here's the classic version of Moon River that you hear in both films.


And here's the thing: I thought about ALL of this in the first few seconds after I saw that New York Times correction in the newspaper, while sipping my coffee over at Panera Bread.
That's how my mind works.

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