Thursday, January 19, 2017

History: The Year is 1934

I've uploaded year 1934 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever -- Captain Kirk time travels to the 1930s to make sure a sweet woman meets her maker. I talk about the race to produce the first atomic bomb.

The Daily Mail says 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts!' -- I talk about the popularity of fascism and the song "You're the Top!" which lists Mussolini as a good thing to be.

Finding the Cure for Alcoholism -- Remember Bill the stockbroker? He gets sober this year but he must find a way to STAY sober.

Notable Births -- Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., Carl Sagan, Ralph Nader, Jane Goodall, Tom Baker, Tina Louise, Marty Feldman, Maggie Smith, Harlan Ellison

In Other News -- The Night of the Long Knives, Stalin begins his purge of the Communist Party and the Chinese begin their "Long March".

Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever

This is about a time-traveling episode of Star Trek, but before we get into that, let's review the current state of physics. The lithium atom has been split. Neutrons have been discovered. Anti-matter has been detected in cosmic rays! There is an open secret amongst scientists that a process to release the power of the atom MIGHT be possible. The German-Jewish scientist, Albert Einstein is touring the USA, and decides to stay. Violence is escalating as Adolf Hitler becomes F├╝hrer, and a loyal Nazi scientist named Kurt Diebner joins Army Ordnance Research in Berlin. He suggests that splitting the atom could release vast amounts of energy, but there is not enough experimental evidence to confirm it. In 4 more years there will be. On the eve of World War 2, Diebner will assemble a team to develop an atomic bomb. Albert Einstein will send his famous letter to FDR, warning that the Nazis are developing such a bomb. FDR's Manhattan Project will be a race against the Nazis (and to some extent against the Japanese) to develop an atomic bomb. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
With that background, Harlin Ellison writes an off-the-wall script for Star Trek, but after some disagreements, Ellison is replaced along with a number of script elements including the reason why the episode is called "The City on the Edge of Forever." (The script originally called for a fully occupied city with a time portal, but costs in production... well... you know how it goes.) In the final script, a drugged-crazed Dr. McCoy leaps through the time portal and alters the future. What happened? Dr. McCoy saves the life of Edith Keeler, good and true. Because she lives, she leads a peace movement in 1936 that delays the US entrance into World War 2. That give the Nazis time to develop the atomic bomb. In order to save the world as we know it, Edith Keeler, good and true, must die. After a comical interlude and several leaps in logic, we stare in horror as Captain Kirk holds back Dr. McCoy from saving Edith's life. She walks into traffic to meet her fate... the first fate... not the second fate.... wait.... which one was real? Ellison won the Writer's Guild Award for Best Episodic Drama on TV even though the script he submitted was the original one that never aired. [5]

The Daily Mail says 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts!'

Although we haven't said much about Benito Mussolini, and his fascist uprising in Italy, in fact, he has been an inspiration to Adolf Hitler. The Italian fascist movement is where Hitler got the idea for the "Brownshirt" arm of the Nazi Party. The Voluntary Militia for National Security in Italy is nicknamed "The Blackshirts" due to its uniform, patterned after the elite Italian troops of World War 1. Mussolini uses strong-arm tactics by sending out his Blackshirts to intimidate opponents. It is a youth movement, and as such, engenders all the energy and vitality that youth can provide. Fascism is a nationalistic reaction to international socialism though they are two sides of the same coin. In Great Britain, fascist supporters also wear black shirts as they march through the streets. The owner of the UK's Daily Mail is a fanboy. This year Viscount Rothermere writes a three-column opinion piece for the paper entitled 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts!' He explains that fascism is not really a dark, southern Italian movement. No. No. They are a good, white NORTHERN Italian movement! (Remember your temper, Alex.) "Discipline and organization" are the keys to good government. Blah, blah, blah. And any "minor misdeeds" by the fascists can be forgiven in favor of the benefits they provide. (By "minor misdeeds" he means the persecution of Jews and other undesirables.) The Daily Mail will soon regret its editorial support for fascism as World War 2 approaches. Oh yeah. [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
You’re the top!
You’re a Coolidge dollar.
You’re the nimble tread
Of the feet of Fred Astaire,
You’re Mussolini,
You’re Mrs. Sweeney.
-- From the Cole Porter musical, Anything Goes, 1934. [7]
Cole Porter never wrote those words, but the song was sometimes tailored to the audience. The lyrics are obviously controversial today, but in 1934 a list of "top things" would certainly include Mussolini. My poor memory tells me that Barbara Streisand sang a modern version of the song that included Mussolini as a joke. Nowadays it would be like including an especially smelly brand of cheese in a list of favorite foods. It might be someone's favorite, but mostly not. In the 1930's Mussolini was considered handsome but as I stare at his blank-and-white photo all I see are the stark features of a vicious killer, and nothing handsome about him at all.

Finding the Cure for Alcoholism

Long before President John Adam's son succumbed to alcoholism and a miserable death, people have been searching for some sort of cure. American psychologist William James mentioned a spiritual cure in his lectures on religious practices (circa the 1910s). He describes the cure without explanation. Apparently, God simply releases a few lucky souls from the torment of alcoholism. Psychiatrist Carl Jung (YOUNG) has also been working on the problem, slowly guiding a patient though a process of spiritual awakening. Remember Bill the stockbroker? During the stock market crash he chose the bar over a quick trip out the window? Now he is at his end. His wife has been told that he will eventually meet his fate in an accident, suicide or spend his last days in a asylum with a "wet brain". Then Bill receives a phone call. His old drinking buddy, Ebby, is coming for a visit. Bill is delighted. He can drink openly with his old friend, but Ebby pushes the drink away. He's had "the cure". Yep. Ebby was on fire. "But bless his heart, let him rant! Besides, my gin (will) last longer than his preaching," Bill said to himself. But Ebby wasn't ranting. He suggested a practical approach: "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?" That statement changes everything for Bill. He undergoes a spiritual awakening, but he needs a way to STAY sober. He will find that way soon. [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
From that meeting with Ebby, Bill developed a method of recovering from alcoholism that has become Alcoholics Anonymous. That meeting is not considered the founding of AA, but it was a beginning. Ebby returned to drink, and through the years he put together a couple of years of sobriety here and there. Bill was an exceptionally bright man. Ebby had taught him how to become sober through the help of a Higher Power of his own conception, but Bill needed to find a way to STAY sober... a way to "pass it on". He found that way in Akron, Ohio a year later when he met Bob, a doctor with a bad case of alcoholism... his own alcoholism. [10]

Notable Births

  • Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.: Commander-in-Chief of CENTCOM during Operation Desert Storm. [11]
  • Carl Sagan: Best known for the science program "Cosmos" and the novel "Contact". [12]
  • Ralph Nader (Living): Author of "Unsafe at Any Speed" and Presidential candidate. [13] [14]
  • Jane Goodall (Living): Best known for her personal approach to studying chimpanzees. [15]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Tom Baker (Living): The 4th "Dr. Who". Everyone has their favorite, but Tom has been the longest serving. [16]
  • -- Tina Louise (Living): Best known as Ginger Grant on Gilligan's Island. [17]
  • -- Marty Feldman: Comedic actor. "Damn you eyes!" shouted Young Frankenstein. "Too late," replied I-gor (Marty Feldman). [18]
  • -- Maggie Smith (Living): Best known as Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter movies. [19]
  • -- Harlan Ellison (Living): Screenwriter of the controversial Star Trek episode, "The City on the Edge of Forever". [20]
**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked.

In Other News

  • The Night of the Long Knives begins. The public accepts Hitler's explanation that he is putting down a rebellion amongst his own troops. ITS A PURGE YOU KNUCKLEHEADS! US Ambassador Dodd is oblivious. [21]
  • Speaking of purges... Stalin begins his purge of the Communist Party. Trotsky's ex-wife is picked up. She is a dead woman. [22] [23] [24]
  • The Chinese begin their "Long March" in retreat. Mao will become an inspiration for all as he escapes encirclement by the Nationalist Chinese which in later years will become the core of the Taiwan government. [25] [26]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1934, Wikipedia.

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