The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

I watched CBS This Morning and its chef segment. Some of Mike Price’s signature dishes are Cranberry Ginger, Crème Fraiche Panna Cotta – huckleberries, toasted almonds, Delicata Squash and Honeycrisp Apple Salad – grapes, toasted pumpkin seeds and pecorino, Roasted Cauliflower – toasted pine nuts, sherry, gastrique, Spaghetti and Clams – spicy tomato, salad on top, and The Clam Dip – zesty potato chips and crudité. I looked at the American Top 40 playlist for the weekend. The Top 10 songs on October 25, 1975 were “It Only Takes a Minute,” “Ballroom Blitz,” “Island Girl,” “Who Loves You,” “Feelings,” “They Just Can’t Stop It (Games People Play),” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “Miracles,” “Calypso/I’m Sorry,” and “Bad Blood.” I went out to work and had a discussion about Akira Kurosawa. I learned about the death of Maureen O’Hara. She was one of my favorites, and she was 95 years old. I took a walk downtown and went to see “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.” It gave me a lot of information, and a lot of the footage was pretty good because it showed different locations in Oakland. The movie showed the rise and fall of a political movement. It made me think back to “Reds” and also the Occupy movement. There are also the incidents in recent years with police shootings. We see a couple of Hollywood stars get involved, namely Marlon Brando and Jane Fonda. The description of the fundraiser at Fonda’s house was the funniest moment in the movie. It’s too bad we don’t get to hear from her. These movements get started by young people, and eventually they have to go on with the lives, which is what many of them did. Conflicts among the people start to arise, which is what you expect within any group of people. A couple of the dramatic points in the picture were the death of Martin Luther King and the shootout that killed Fred Hampton. The Panthers did give children a breakfast before school each day, so they did some good outside of politics and trying to bring down the American government. The four key figures are Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, and Fred Hampton. Some women were interviewed, too. A large part of the story was about the role of the F.B.I. and J. Edgar Hoover. They lurking behind everything, with an informant in the Panthers, and their concept of the Black Messiah. Do we know what the F.B.I. was doing from documents, without hearing from Hoover himself? The goal of tearing down the government was really impossible, if it was a serious goal. Bobby Seale’s attempt to be elected mayor of Oakland showed the dilemma of being in the numerical minority. You can’t ever win. You have to compromise. Newton died and Cleaver died. Cleaver’s views changed. The Panthers made mistakes, but we wanted to hear what they were. We saw footage of the Panthers carrying weapons, but never got to see what they really were. There is a lot that people won’t understand about politics and racism from just watching this movie, but they can see what patterns repeat. I think you have to realize that having notions of changing the world isn’t enough. How are the people who don’t support you supposed to live? What is your plan? What happens afterwards? I have the feeling that people haven’t really learned much since the days of the Black Panthers to these days of Black Lives Matter. The ticket taker nodded as I walked out of the lobby. I went to Dollar Tree to buy a bottle of drinking water and I did my laundry. I had twelve pairs of dirty socks. I missed the Batman episode on Me TV, but I saw Grace Lee Whitney’s name in the credits. The Wonder Woman episode was a ridiculous story involving time travel from 2155. Even that far in the future, computer had useless colored lights. The Star Trek episode was “The Enemy Within,” with Captain Kirk getting divided into two parts, the good side becoming weak and indecisive and the bad side becoming a raving maniac. Why was it that the crew didn’t notice that the two were wearing different clothes? I tried to watch John Ford’s “Rio Grande” in remembrance of Maureen O’Hara, but the scratched disc got stuck. It was in black and white, though, not showing Maureen’s remarkable red hair. Some of the people who died on October 25 include Forrest Tucker (1986), Bill Graham (1991), Roger Miller (1992), Vincent Price (1993), Mildred Natwick (1994), Bobby Riggs (1995), and Richard Harris (2002). Today is a birthday for Nancy Cartwright (58), Helen Reddy (74), and Marion Ross (87). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for October 25, “The Amazing Colossal Man” was released in 1957. Also in 1957, “Pal Joey,” with Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak, and Rita Hayworth, was released. In 1967, “Camelot” was released. In 1978, John Carpenter’s “Halloween” with Jamie Lee Curtis was released.

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