I watched the last three quarters of this pre-9/11 film last night. It featured a U.S. that I thought existed when I was very young, the U.S. - when I'd matured a lot - as I thought it might still become, and now in my advancing years it represents for me the U.S. that has been lost forever. I cried over our loss but I still recommend the film. Maybe, just maybe, if enough people realize what’s been lost they will take to the streets in mass rebellion, as I passionately hope, before it truly is too late. Fine acting by Richard Dreyfuss. Mr. Holland's Opus is a 1995 American drama film directed by Stephen Herek. It stars Richard Dreyfuss in the title role and the cast includes Glenne Headly, Olympia Dukakis, William H. Macy and Jay Thomas.

And then - and then - I read this in today’s TruthOut:

Dumb Question of the 21st Century: Is It Legal?


Tuesday 31 May 2011

by: Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

Still, I feel at least as capable as any constitutional law professor of answering such questions.

My answer is this: they are irrelevant. Think of them as twentieth-century questions that don't begin to come to grips with twenty-first century American realities. In fact, think of them, and the very idea of a nation based on the rule of law, as a reflection of nostalgia for, or sentimentality about, a long-lost republic. At least in terms of what used to be called “foreign policy,” and more recently “national security,” the United States is now a post-legal society. (And you could certainly include in this mix the too-big-to-jail financial and corporate elite.)

It’s easy enough to explain what I mean. If, in a country theoretically organized under the rule of law, wrongdoers are never brought to justice and nobody is held accountable for possibly serious crimes, then you don’t have to be a constitutional law professor to know that its citizens actually exist in a post-legal state. If so, “Is it legal?” is the wrong question to be asking, even if we have yet to discover the right one.

Note: the drawing of Sam to the right comes from the cover by Bachan/Flores/Tron of Letras Libres. December 2001


Mr. Holland's Opus


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