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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life is the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, you can find an archive list at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, October 22

Denial

I’m not what I’d consider someone either ignorant of history or inattentive to current events. But I didn’t remember that anyone or any group were deniers of the facts of the Holocaust. And I don’t remember reading about this 1996 defamation trial in the UK when historian David Irving (Timothy Spall) sued Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) asserting she’d libeled him in her book about the Holocaust. Both sides agreed to have a judge instead of a jury decide the outcome. Irving may have been tricked into that decision since the Lipstadt team felt they'd have a better chance with only one person instead of twelve. They feared that a jury might have been more easily swayed by Irving's arguments. Denial is based on Lipstadt's book recounting the experience in History on Trial: My Day in Court. In English courts (as well as those silly wigs they all have to wear) the burden of proof is on the accused, not the accuser; and the defendant is hired by a Solicitor (Andrew Scott, who won the divorce trial involving Princess Diana), and a Trial Attorney who actually presents the case in court (in this case, Richard Rampton, played very admirably by Tom Wilkinson.) The judge, after an unusually long and expensive trial, presented his finding in a manuscript over 300 pages. As Roger Ebert in his review suggested, though, this is timely for Americans still reeling from conspiracy theories like the birthers brought against Barack Obama and the present-day “rigged system” of Donald Trump. The birthers are as stupid in their contention that Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen as these deniers were/are stupid in believing that Hitler was not responsible for the murder of millions of Jews, that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz, that the chambers were for delousing cadavers and the crematoriums were only for disposing of dead bodies. As the film points out, it was important that Irving not win this case so that deniers for all time could never again argue that there was no Holocaust, no murder of these millions of Jews to “cleanse” the Aryan race. The acting was good, especially that of Weisz and Wilkinson and the oh-so-sleazy portrayal of Irving by Timothy Spall, but the story was slow-moving, with an outcome we all knew beforehand, and was a bit too dialogue-driven. Maybe the most compelling scenes were when Lipstadt and her legal team went to Auschwitz to see firsthand where it took place, to see if they could find evidence to support their contention that the Holocaust actually happened there. It was a quiet, somber, snow-covered scene that showed viewers what this horrific place looked like half a century after the horrors of WWII. We saw the barbed wire fencing around the site, we saw the mountains of hand bags, valises, shoes of the victims, we saw what remained of the underground gas chambers after the Nazis blew them up at the end of the war to eliminate any evidence of their wrongdoing. God help us, please let us never again witness the atrocities that man can perpetrate on his fellow man. I’m glad I saw this film. Huzzahs for Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, and Timothy Spall, but I wouldn’t want to see it again. Two stars out of four.

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