Monthly Archives: March 2006

Fifty Years Ago and Now

Just to write a lighter post than the one yesterday, here are some happier thoughts.

I enjoy seeing TV and movie stars on 1950s game shows shown late at night on GSN (Game Show Network), and then seeing the same stars, with spirit and verve and personality unchanged, on today’s TV.

For example, (besides their other 1950s programs) Carl Reiner was on The Name’s The Same, Andy Griffith was on I’ve Got A Secret, Betty White was on various game shows in the 1950s and Debbie Reynolds, Carol Burnett, Jane Russell, Paul Anka and Jerry Lewis were on What’s My Line in the 1950s.

In the current decade, mainly in the past year, I’ve seen Betty White on Boston Legal and the Ellen talk show, Carl Reiner on Ellen and The Tonight Show and in Ocean’s 11 (remake), Jane Russell on Larry King, Andy Griffith on Larry King, Jerry Lewis on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Fox News, and his own telethon, Paul Anka on VH1 and PBS, Carol Burnett in reunion shows with her TV cast, and Debbie Reynolds on David Letterman and other talk shows and documentaries, and in recent movies.

These people have careers spanning more than 50 years. It takes a very special person to achieve that in show business.

And the magic to me is, having not been born yet in the 1950s, those game shows are a time machine. I get to see what life was like in my parents’ time which seemed so very different and more elegant and graceful than my own. Let’s face it, nothing in 1973 looked or felt like how things seemed in 1953 (from the evidence of what has been preserved on film). In contrast, 2006 looks and feels much more similar to 1986 (except for a few great new gadgets). Even looking at my parents’ 1956 wedding films, I can’t comprehend that they lived in that time, the time of Marilyn Monroe and the heyday of Doris Day and Cary Grant, when an effort was still made to make life glamorous, when men wore hats all the time and women wore elaborate dresses or skirts, and everyone flirted, before the hippies and feminists turned us all into unisex blue-jeaned clones.

So hats off to those who have managed to be an important and elevating part of all these different eras in the popular culture. They are very special people.

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Hitler, Stalin, Kim Jong Il

Warning: this is an upsetting post.

I finally saw “Children of the Secret State” on Discovery Times Channel last night. I’ve seen other documentaries on North Korea and on its refugees, but this one is the sharpest in its evidence of atrocities, including video images by Ahn Chol of starving orphans heroically photographed at the risk of his execution if discovered. Despite North Korea’s claims of a bumper farm crop in 2005, you can be certain there is still starvation in the rural towns, there are still prison camps where entire innocent families are starved, beaten and killed with long knives (because a father or an uncle spoke words that were not permitted to be spoken). You can be sure there are still “hostels” for orphan children where they are given no food and must escape or die.

Kim Jong Il’s late father, Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea, learned directly from Stalin. It is inevitable under Communism, or any form of Collectivism, where the Individual is officially subordinate to the State or the Group, that the sacred value of the Individual, his right to his own life, is obliterated and replaced by a total lack of respect for any human life or human right except for the whims of the Dictator. People become a drain on the system in a Collectivist, controlled economy, instead of the source of Plenty (for themselves because they are free to act in their own self-interest) that they are in Capitalism. People become expendable.

The food aid the USA sends to North Korea goes directly to the North Korean military and the government. It doesn’t go to the starving people in the small towns.

If you ever said “Never Again” in regard to the Hitler Holocaust or the Stalin Holocaust, well, it’s been happening again for a long time in North Korea. It’s not a racial group as it was under the Nazis. It’s anyone who could weaken the government’s power — by speaking — that is persecuted, imprisoned, tortured. Where else is it happening again? What do we know about the situations for prisoners of conscience in Iran and Syria? And we do know about the horrors in Sudan and Rwanda thanks to their dictators.

While any free country has the right to attack NK, or any other nation that doesn’t respect the rights of its own people to be free, America needs to be careful not to get entangled if it is not in the interests of its own defense. But NK has declared America to be its enemy, and probably has nuclear weapons. NK will certainly assist groups like Al Queda and states like Iran, by giving them weapons parts and technology, and weapons themselves, if America is the target.

The innocent people of NK can only benefit from a self-defense based (ideally aerial bombing) attack by America on the NK government and its nuclear facilities. Even if the prisoners and other innocent civilians die from American bombs, they will be grateful when they start to hear the bombs drop. I know this from interviewing Nazi concentration camp survivors.

We don’t have to set up the new government, we just have to get rid of the dangerous one. If possible we could try to assist a freedom-loving leader in establishing a constitutionally limited, rights-respecting government (with our know-how, not with our own fighting men). The only necessity to protect the safety and future of America (and our civilized, free allies) is that today’s oppressive NK regime is out of power, and their nuclear weapons are destroyed. Starvation won’t end instantly, and lawlessness may abound for awhile. But our priority needs to be to get rid of a dangerous nuclear-powered enemy first. Action is necessary. Eventually the starvation will end as people become free to work for themselves instead of the “Dear Leader”. That will be an indirect benefit to the innocent North Korean people, if we destroy their government for our own self-defense reasons.

We need not worry about the intense immigration into China and South Korea that may result. There are ways for these nations to absorb them. This should not prevent our taking necessary action.

Needless to say it’s just as necessary for us to also take action against the states that create anti-American terrorists, primarily Iran, but also Syria, and possibly Saudi Arabia. If Iran is obtaining nuclear weaponry, it must be stopped, now.

Another problem I wish to point out is that China keeps sending refugees who escape from North Korea into China, back to be punished by the NK authorities. I recommend that everyone put pressure on China to stop doing this including by writing letters to Chinese representatives and to publications.

Anyway, here are some links:

The program Children of the Secret State:
http://www.hardcashproductions.com/recent02.html

An organization that assists North Korean refugees who have escaped:
http://www.northkoreanrefugees.com/

Another site of interest, including information on a pro-freedom march for NK in Washington, D.C.:
http://www.nkfreedom.org/index.php?id=29
http://www.nkfreedom.org/index.php?id=1

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Forthcoming Walt Disney World Trip

We’re taking a trip to Walt Disney World in a few weeks. This reminded me of how inspiring it can be to see some of the attractions such as the Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress (both originally designed for the New York World’s Fair of 1964, where I first saw them at age 3) and Epcot’s Future World.

However, in recent years some of the attractions were revised to their detriment. The Disney imagineers in the last decade destroyed the serenity and beauty of the lovely Enchanted Tiki Room presentation, which had been a work of art supervised by Walt himself, by adding Gilbert Gottfried and a rabble-rousing element to the show and labelling it “under new management”. I refuse to experience it again until it goes back to the original owners.

But more serious is the damage done to The American Adventure program in Epcot.

By the way, there is an Ayn Rand quotation from “The Fountainhead” on the wall directly opposite the front entrance, don’t miss that if you go. The quotation is, “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision.” It’s part of the same passage that Jerry Lewis (of all people) copied into his little notebook when he read the novel, so he could read it again and again as he pursued his show business career. Sometimes in December they put a Christmas tree in front of it, and I always request that they move the tree so the quotation is visible. But my problem is with the show itself.

As I recall, The American Adventure was quite different when it premiered in 1982. The animatronic portion was shorter and purely patriotic, uplifting, and dealing with principles of freedom as did the opening film.

Then in the 1990s, they added more sequences to the animatronic portion, and changed it into a laundry list of the things that went wrong in American history, including propaganda for “saving” the environment courtesy of Theodore Roosevelt, emphasis on things like the alleged harm done to the Indians, slavery, Prohibition, the Depression, the 20th century persecution of blacks in the South, the Vietnam war protests, to the point where the uplifting emotion about America’s founding principles and its successes, in the opening movie portion (which remained positive and inspiring) and in the original short animatronic program (1982), was to me virtually lost.

It’s almost as if The American Adventure was now the Anti-American Adventure!

Of course, the visual and technical aspects were superb, and were more amazing than in 1982, but the patriotic message became muddled at best.

I haven’t seen it since 2001, so maybe they have changed it again since then. I’ll check it out on my forthcoming trip.

Needless to say, most of Walt Disney World remains a delight and extremely worthwhile. Obviously I have been there many times (I even worked there in 1989) and intend to return many times.

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The Objective Standard

I am reading the beautiful print version of the first issue of The Objective Standard and it is outstanding, perhaps worth the price of the whole subscription! It surpasses my expectations. I especially appreciated and will continue to consult (as my children start school) Lisa VanDamme’s article on the hierarchy of knowledge in education.

This is Craig Biddle’s academic journal with an Objectivist viewpoint (http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/). I hope that soon it will be on all the large newsstands and in all the university bookstores, and every Borders and Barnes & Noble store, in the nation (the world?). Craig writes me that one of his goals is that it will be on newsstands within a year.

It is so refreshing to read material by first-rate thinkers. If only everyone knew about this publication — and also The Intellectual Activist (http://www.intellectualactivist.com) and Capitalism Magazine (www.capmag.com) — then many, many people would develop a different, more accurate perspective than they have now under the influence of today’s typically missing-the-point periodicals and broadcast programs.

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Welcome to My Weblog

Hi! You have found Zigory’s weblog (oh, all right, “blog” if you must be vulgar about it).

I’m Zigory, also known as Greg Zeigerson.

My podcast on www.solidvox.com is still in the works as I write this. I’m excited about the many fascinating guests in varied fields I’m planning to interview! I hope you’ll download and listen when the shows become available. Look for my programs to be fun, educational, surprising, humorous and even inspiring!

To contact me, send an email to gregoryzeigerson@yahoo.com

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