Monday, August 29, 2016


 When I’m required to sit for some time with both my legs up on a footstool (doctors orders, among exercises and walking without my walker or wheelchair), I often watch old movies on television. Last week, it was THE INSIDER, about the tobacco-company worker who told the famous TV host of 60 MINUTES that the manufacturer knew smoking cigarettes caused lung cancer, but was keeping it a secret and had fired him.

 The show grew from an article, titled, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, by Marie Brenner, which was published in VANITY FAIR. The story aired in 1964 and this film was made in 1999. It stars Al Pacino as Lowell Bergman, Christopher Plummer as Mike Wallace, and Russell Crowe as Jeffrey Wigand, the whistle-blower. Although telling the truth, which he thought was the right thing to do, Wigand lost his wife and children (she divorced him), in addition to his job. He became a high school teacher, and, after that, he lectured in cities around the world, hoping to stem the use of cigarettes.

 Although the film version didn’t earn as much money as it cost to make, it garnered lots of awards, including nominations and Academy Awards for both Russell Crowe and Christopher Plummer in the U.S., and other awards in other countries.

 I had seen this film when it first came out, but had forgotten lots of it in the years since then. It reminded me of the curent Presidential election, in which people have no great afffection for either Hillary Clinton (the Democratic Party nominee) or Donald Trump (the Republican nominee). But lots of unpleasant words are being tossed around, words we’ve never heard at a time like this before.

 I’m not suggesting you watch the film (unless you want to); however, it intrigued me and offers plenty of opportunities to worry about how this 2016 election managed to become so hostile. And how it will end.

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