movies, politics, religion

Colonia– how a 2015 movie helped me understand a Sting song from 1987.

Yesterday, after writing my second and mostly original rant, I decided to watch a movie. iTunes has a bunch of them on sale, so I often look to see what I can get cheaply. A lot of times, I get films I’ve already seen a bunch of times– guilty pleasures that never get old. Every once in awhile, I find a movie I haven’t heard of, but I’m intrigued by the description. Colonia, a 2015 film that was mostly made by Germans, Brits, Frenchies, and Luxembourgers, was one of those films I hadn’t heard of, but got sucked into because of the description. Plus, it only cost me $4.99 to buy it, although at this writing, someone has uploaded the whole film to YouTube.

A trailer for the film, Colonia.

The plot

It’s 1973, and Lena (Emma Watson), a German flight attendant for Lufthansa, and her German boyfriend, Daniel (Daniel Brühl), are in Chile at a time of political unrest. The Chilean president, socialist Salvador Allende, has been forced out of power due to a military coup. Allende would die on September 11, 1973, as the government was taken over by General Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet would seize power from civilians, suspend the constitution, and impose martial law.

Daniel supports former President Allende and has given speeches to Chileans. Pinochet’s secret police, Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), rounds up people who are loyal to the deposed president. Daniel gets abducted by DINA. Lena decides to track him down, eventually finding out that he is being held by a secret organization called Colonia Dignidad, which turns out to be a religious cult run by a German lay preacher named Paul Schäfer (played by the late Michael Nyqvist). Against the advice of wiser people, who warn her that if she joined the cult, she will not be able to escape it, Lena decides to join Colonia Dignidad in an attempt to find her boyfriend.

The UK Trailer for Colonia.

Lena does find Daniel, who has been tortured with electric shocks and acts as if he’s disabled in order to escape scrutiny. But she’s abused by the leaders of the cult, to include a vile old woman named Gisela (Richenda Carey) who calls the women “cunts” and forces them to work without food or water. The couple befriend a nurse named Ursel, who is pregnant. They try to escape the compound, which is a heavily guarded fortress. Ursel is killed, but Daniel and Lena manage to get to the West German embassy, where they are betrayed. However, against the odds, they manage to leave the country with incriminating photographs of Colonia Dignidad, as the Lufthansa pilot takes off without official clearance from flight controllers, and spirits the couple back to Germany.

Paul Schäfer

Adding to this film’s intrigue is the story of Paul Schäfer. If you read this blog regularly, you might know that I find religious cults fascinating. I think a lot of them are just plain evil. Paul Schäfer was born in Bonn in 1921. Due to an accident with a fork, he lost his right eye. He later told people that he lost his eye due to a war injury during World War II; as Schäfer did serve as a medic in a German hospital in occupied France. Later, he was influenced by the American Baptist preacher, William M. Branham, who also influenced Jim Jones. Branham advocated a strict adherence to the Bible, which Schäfer also demanded of his followers.

Schäfer became a lay preacher and opened a children’s home in Siegburg, but was later run out of Germany because he was accused of molesting two boys in his care. Schäfer subsequently relocated his ministry to the Middle East, where he met the Chilean ambassador to Germany, who invited him to Chile. By 1961, Schäfer had moved to Chile, where his cult took root. The Chilean president at the time, Jorge Alessandri, granted him permission to launch the “Dignidad Beneficent Society” on a farm outside of Parral, in southern Chile. The society, which was founded on Baptist principles and anti-communism, eventually turned into Colonia Dignidad– the place where Daniel and Lena ended up in the film, Colonia.

The character, Paul Schäfer, appears just after Daniel has been tortured with electric shocks. Daniel is shown strapped to a metal bed frame, naked except for his underwear. As Daniel recovers from being beaten and repeatedly shocked, Schäfer shows up and comforts him, hugging him and speaking soothingly to him. As a viewer, I am led to believe this is how the cult leader gets Daniel into the compound, where he and the rest of the followers are forced to work. Males and females are kept apart, and children are separated. Although it’s not explicitly shown in the film, it’s implied that Schäfer molests boys. Indeed, the real Paul Schäfer was found to have molested hundreds of boys over his forty years leading the cult. But Schäfer colluded with the Pinochet regime, arranging to smuggle in weapons from Germany, since shipments bound for his ministry were never inspected by customs because they were for a “charity”.

Schäfer also conducted torture and took care of executions for the Pinochet regime, as he also ran a hospital. After a hunting accident, which required Schäfer to undergo medical care at a hospital in Santiago for months, Schäfer came back to his fortress and forbade all festivities. In 1966, a teenager named Wolfgang Kneese managed to escape the fortress and spoke to the press. Schäfer got another teenager, name of Hartmut Hopp, to accuse Kneese of sexual misconduct. Hopp was rewarded by Schäfer, who allowed him to study medicine. Hopp served as a physician in the hospital; he also prescribed sedatives for Schäfer, who would use them to subdue his victims, boys he raped who were sent to his colony.

In real life, Schäfer duped locals into following him until he finally lost favor when Pinochet stepped down in 1990. The next leader, Patricio Aylwin, stripped Schäfer’s ministry of its charity status and cut off funding for Schäfer’s hospital. In 1997, Schäfer disappeared, as he was up on child sexual abuse charges. He was tried in absentia in 2004, and found guilty. Schäfer was also wanted in Germany and France, having also been accused of child abuse in both countries. In March 2005, Schäfer was finally found hiding out in a townhouse in a gated community about 25 miles from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was arrested and sent back to Chile. In 2006, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing 25 children. He was also fined 770 million pesos, which was to have been distributed to his victims. He died on April 24, 2010 at age 88 of heart failure.

Lena gets verbally abused.

I wish Colonia had gone more into detail about Paul Schäfer. In fact, I think they should make a movie about him, to show how a charismatic man who preaches about Christianity can turn out to be pure evil. In the film, Schäfer is explicitly shown abusing women– forcing them to listen to a boy soprano sing “Ave Maria” in front of a room full of angry men. Schäfer would make a woman sit alone in front of the men, then viciously debase her in front of the men, who would grow more hostile until they were driven to attack her. He would sniff her, calling her a harlot and a slut. He forced the women to bind their breasts. The child abuse was sort of alluded to, but in the film he appears to have been a misogynist, more than anything else.

My thoughts

Before yesterday, I knew nothing at all about Chilean politics. In fact, the only thing I knew about Augusto Pinochet was that his name is in an old song by Sting. His song, “They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo)”, was on the 1987 album, Nothing Like the Sun, which was released when I was fifteen years old and in the tenth grade. I didn’t know anything about American politics in 1987, let alone what was going on in Chile. But now that I’ve seen Colonia and was curious enough to learn more about the film, that song makes a lot more sense.

Gee… now I know what this song is about.

They Dance Alone by Sting

Why are there women here dancing on their own?
Why is there this sadness in their eyes?
Why are the soldiers here
Their faces fixed like stone?
I can’t see what it is that they despise

They’re dancing with the missing
They’re dancing with the dead
They dance with the invisible ones
Their anguish is unsaid
They’re dancing with their fathers
They’re dancing with their sons
They’re dancing with their husbands
They dance alone They dance alone

It’s the only form of protest they’re allowed
I’ve seen their silent faces scream so loud
If they were to speak these words they’d go missing too
Another woman on a torture table what else can they do
They’re dancing with the missing
They’re dancing with the dead
They dance with the invisible ones
Their anguish is unsaid
They’re dancing with their fathers
They’re dancing with their sons
They’re dancing with their husbands
They dance alone They dance alone

One day we’ll dance on their graves
One day we’ll sing our freedom
One day we’ll laugh in our joy
And we’ll dance
One day we’ll dance on their graves
One day we’ll sing our freedom
One day we’ll laugh in our joy
And we’ll dance

Ellas danzan con los desaparecidos
Ellas danzan con los muertos
Ellas danzan con amores invisibles
Ellas danzan con silenciosa angustia
Danzan con sus padres
Danzan con sus hijos
Danzan con sus esposos
Ellas danzan solas
Danzan solas

Hey Mr. Pinochet
You’ve sown a bitter crop
It’s foreign money that supports you
One day the money’s going to stop
No wages for your torturers
No budget for your guns
Can you think of your own mother
Dancing with her invisible son
They’re dancing with the missing
They’re dancing with the dead
They dance with the invisible ones
Their anguish is unsaid
They’re dancing with their fathers
They’re dancing with their sons
They’re dancing with their husbands
They dance alone
They dance alone

Turns out Sting was right. Mr. Pinochet left power just a few years after this song was released.

But anyway… while I think Colonia could have been a better film, and it was really just based on true events, it did lead me to learn more about Chilean politics. And now, I finally have more of an understanding of what “They Dance Alone” is about. I may or may not be moved to learn more about this subject, which isn’t a bad accomplishment for a film. A lot of people gave Colonia bad reviews, but I think if a movie inspires someone to do research, it’s done something pretty amazing. So, for that reason, I can’t pan it. I do think it’s kind of misleading, though, and I think it would have been a better story if the focus had been more on Schäfer, rather than Daniel and Lena. Also, bear in mind that a lot of the movie was filmed in Europe, with only a few scenes filmed in Argentina.

Standard
narcissists, politicians, Trump

Donald Trump’s last gasps of desperation…

Last night, as the last holiday weekend of 2020-21 was winding down, I saw the headline flash across Facebook. The Washington Post was running an exclusive story about how Donald Trump, lame duck POTUS, was shamelessly trying to guilt, cajole, threaten, and manipulate Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, into somehow “finding” 11,780 votes and overturning Joe Biden’s win in Georgia. The Post’s story included an edited version of Trump’s hour long discussion with Raffensperger and other Georgia elections officials. They later posted the full, unedited phone call. I know at least one of my Facebook friends resubscribed to the Post just so they could listen, but it’s now been posted on YouTube, and the media has been spreading this story like COVID-19.

Absolutely PATHETIC! He needs a ball gag.

My initial response to this news was outrage and disgust. However, ultimately, I’m not surprised Trump is trying this tactic. He is desperate to remain in power. He will leave no stone unturned in his relentless quest to stay in the White House, even though the majority of people in a proven secure and fair election want him OUT! With every day that passes, Trump’s hopes of overturning the election results dwindle, yet he keeps trying to bully his way past the results. He continues to try to rewrite history and alter the truth, even though it’s clear that he lost, fair and square (as Marcia Brady would put it).

I think Trump wants to stay in charge for a lot of reasons. The main one is that he is a malignant narcissist. Malignant narcissists hate to lose, and they will stop at nothing to avoid that particular narcissistic injury. But, besides the fact that Trump is a narcissist, I think he’s also afraid of what is going to happen to him once he’s no longer enjoying the protections that come from being the U.S. President. Once January 20, 2021 rolls around, he will once again be a private citizen, and that means he will be fair game for those who would like to sue him or see him behind bars.

If you listen to Trump talk, he speaks of rumors spreading about corruption. He throws out a bunch of figures and untrue statements. I must give credit to Brad Raffensperger, who kept his cool and calmly told Mr. Trump that his comments were untrue. He wasn’t swayed by Trump’s threats and never once sounded intimidated by Trump and his brazen attempts to steamroll him. Even when Trump reminded Raffensperger that he’s a Republican– perhaps trying to demand party loyalty– Raffensperger remained unruffled. Massive kudos and congratulations to Mr. Raffensperger for his ability to stay calm and either not laugh outright at Trump, or show any wavering in his duty to report accurate and fair results of the election, regardless of his affiliation with the Republican Party.

I would like to ask Trump this… if Georgia’s elections results were improper, why aren’t other people in an uproar? What about the lower political races? Wouldn’t there be corruption there, too? I also find it hilarious that Trump is complaining about cheating when there were many signs that Republicans were doing their best to suppress voters by removing mailboxes, cutting postal worker overtime, and cutting down on the number of ballot boxes where votes could legally be collected. Despite all of these efforts, Trump still LOST! Obviously, people want him to leave office, but he won’t go without an embarrassing and increasingly futile fight. Even people in his own party are turning on him. They don’t want to be on the wrong side of history.

As I write this, I’m listening to Trump’s unedited phone call with the Georgia officials. At this writing, he’s been speaking for almost 13 minutes straight, without another person being allowed to get a word in edgewise. That thirteen minutes of him rambling non-stop drivel, alleging illegal voting practices and fraud… and not a single break in the stream of consciousness word salad to allow the officials to break in until one of them finally responds. They tell him they have recounted the ballots by hand and got the same result as the voting machines from Dominion got. But he’s still not going to back down. In fact, Trump falsely insists that he won the state, when he very clearly didn’t.

I wonder, though, what would happen if somehow Trump did somehow get the election overturned. Would people accept it? Probably the only people who would would be those who doggedly support him, despite his obvious cheating and lying. I have been around since the Nixon era, and I think Donald Trump is by far the most criminal and corrupt president we have ever had… and that is saying a lot! Even if Trump were to stay in office, he’s already lost massive respect from legions of people around the world. His staying in office would truly make the United States even more of a laughingstock than it already is.

He’s such a fucking liar!

But people are still championing Trump, and believing the ridiculous conspiracy theories, even though it’s pretty obvious Trump is a loser. They ignore all of Trump’s shortcomings and continue to make excuses for him, and his deplorable behavior. I think it’s partly because human beings hate to be wrong and have a hard time changing their opinions, even when the facts support changing their opinions. But it’s also because a lot of people have been duped into thinking that Donald Trump is a “common man” who speaks like they do and eats Big Macs. He’s certainly not a common man. He was born into a wealthy family, educated at private schools, and has never earned his own money. He’s not even a good businessman, his businesses having gone bankrupt six times between 1991 and 2009, and his best selling book, The Art of the Deal, was ghostwritten. He’s had two failed marriages, and it looks like his third could easily fail. I mean, Melania doesn’t seem to like her husband very much at all, although she might stick around for Barron’s sake.

This wasn’t the first time. She clearly can’t stand him.

I read this morning that President-elect Joe Biden doesn’t want to pursue charges against Trump’s clearly criminal actions. I can understand that. It would further polarize the American people, and right now, we desperately need to come together and conquer the pandemic. But the other side of me thinks Trump needs to be prosecuted for his obviously treasonous acts in trying to steal the election and undermining the people’s will. It probably comes from my own history of having to swallow bullying behavior from so many people for so many years. I have no more patience for it.

By the way, plenty of people in the military dislike Trump. He did not “win the military, a lot.” Historically, many military folks do vote Republican, but that doesn’t mean they don’t see an obvious conman who wants to undermine the Constitution and referred to them as “suckers and losers”. In this video, you can hear Trump ask the officials to “give him a break” and give him 11,000 votes! Give US a break and leave the White House! We want an adult in the White House who does not punish people for doing their jobs and telling the truth!

Donald Trump, YOU’RE FIRED!

Listening to Trump’s non-sensical bullshit is infuriating to me. It’s childish and stupid, and is about as factual as our ex landlady’s claim that we “dumped” a piece of shit refrigerator on her and stole her “nice” fridge (which, in fact, I purchased from Amazon because that piece of shit fridge was in the house when we moved in). Like our ex landlady, Trump doesn’t want to face facts and pay the piper. In fact, I think Mr. Trump has a lot in common with pathetic, common bullies who live among us and do whatever they can to get their way simply by dogged stubbornness, even if it means outright commiting crimes. I, for one, have had enough of it. I think a lot of Americans have. And I cannot wait to see this lying, cheating, thieving orange fuckhead escorted out of Washington, DC., once and for all.

Standard
France, true crime

All I want for Christmas is a new tire…

Bill and I made it from Nimes to a rest stop near Beaune, where we’re staying once again before we go back to Germany. Bill called our hosts to let them know we were on our way, and I went to the restroom. Somehow, while Bill was on the phone, some asswipe punctured our tire. As we were leaving, this guy pointed at the tire. When we kept going, the guy pointed again. Bill pulled into a parking spot and looked at the tire, which was indeed rapidly losing air. There was a hole in the sidewall.

As he fumed, I suggested that he call ADAC, which is the auto club we’re members of in Germany. They had us call 112 in France, which is their emergency number, and a guy came out to help us change the tire to the spare– the emergency “donut” tire. We were not approached by the “helpful” stranger, but I have read that these folks usually offer to help fix the tire or arrange for assistance, then rob their victims of their money and valuables. No doubt, the lowlife dickless criminal who put a hole in the tire noticed our German plates and figured he’d score because we’re “tourists”.

So far, all we’re out is some time and the cost of a new wheel. Because it was slashed in the sidewall, we’ll need to go to a tire store and replace the tire, which sucks, since the one that was damaged was just put on when the car was made over the summer. Fuck these immoral asswipes who can’t earn their money the honest way. I hope they get flat tires… and cancer of the prostate that causes them enormous pain, embarrassment, and an untimely death. Yes, I want them to suffer, and no, I don’t feel badly about it.

As Bill was pissing and moaning about the tire, I reminded him that this could have been worse. At least the weather was mild and it was sunny out… and tomorrow isn’t Sunday or a holiday, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get the tire fixed. And at least no one was hurt… I’m not sure why someone would slash a tire at a rest stop, where there were many witnesses (although apparently none of them saw the bottom dwelling shithead doing his dirty deed). Usually, these guys slash the tires at stoplights before getting on a high speed highway. That way, the victim pulls over in an area where there aren’t so many people. We were at a stop that had a bunch of restaurants, a gas station, and lots of activity. Again… lucky, since we could have been at a place where there was no help.

Hopefully, he hasn’t followed us to our gite, because a car theft would be all we’d need…

Edited to add: Bill went to a tire store and they don’t have our size… so there is a good chance the car will have to be towed back to Germany and we’ll need to get a rental car. Seriously… fuck these people who slash tires so they can be criminals!

I know it’s a first world problem and it could be a lot worse… at least we have access to help and the ability to pay. But it still just sucks! I wish I could rewind 24 hours and not make the decision to stop at that rest stop. And I hope those who slash tires for fun and profit meet karma sooner rather than later.

Standard
scams

No way, Jose!

Today’s post may be too racy for some readers. If you don’t like sex talk, move along to your next station.

About a year ago, I got a scammy email in my Gmail account claiming that the sender had one of my passwords and video evidence of me doing “naughty things” on camera. The sender wanted me to send $4000 worth of Bitcoins to keep him (or her) from sharing said non-existent videos with my loved ones. I posted about it on my old blog, mainly because it was the first time I’d ever seen a threatening email that used an old password of mine. The first time I read the email, I was half asleep. At first, I was really alarmed and unnerved by it, but then I was amused.

Yes, it was true that the idiot had one of my passwords, but it’s a very old one that I don’t use on any of my current accounts and haven’t used at all in many years. Basically, the dumbass who spammed me with this threatening email was hoping to shock me into paying a lot of money because s/he claimed to have videos of me masturbating.

I won’t deny that sometimes I do masturbate. Most people do, and 99% of those who don’t are either lying or extremely boring, sexually repressed people who need to get a life. Honestly, there’s no shame in it. It’s the safest sex you’ll ever have. If you honestly don’t masturbate, I truly feel sorry for you. That must be a frustrating way to live. You probably play a lot of basketball or run a lot of laps. Or, at least you might if you’re a member of a certain religious persuasion.

My friend Lori shared this today, so I had to update the post with this… it fits.

I don’t care that people know that I masturbate. However, I know for a fact that no one has any videos of me doing that… and even if they did, I don’t think I’d care if they watched them. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the way I do about this subject, so people have been scammed. I closed my old blog, but in the interest of public safety, here are screenshots of that post.

So now, here it is, just over a year later. I got a similar post from someone calling himself “Jose”. He makes the same claims “Elton” does, but with a lot less finesse. Jose is not a particularly coherent English speaker/writer. Behold…

Friends, relatives, and “colleagues” (of which I have none anymore), if you get a video of me masturbating, I hope you enjoy it. Frankly, I’d rather read dirty stories than watch boring videos of people shagging themselves or each other. That’s not what turns me on. I like how “he” leaves me with the gentle advice to be more careful and visit secure sites. Yeah… thanks for that, you vile criminal.

Listen… I don’t care if you have videos of me jerking off. I suspect they would bore most people. I’m just not very sexy. I think it’s hilarious that someone would spam me with this, too… they don’t know me at all, do they? Just like a lot of the people who read my blogs and assume they know me.

No way, Jose. I’m not falling for your “Bit”. Go find another sucker. You don’t even know my name, anyway. It’s true that many people have taken the bait and fallen for this trick. I was not among them last year, and I won’t be today, either. So buzz off, Jose.

In other news… it’s August first, which means I survived July. July is historically a horrible month for me most years, so I’m feeling pretty good that we got through it. Of course, that doesn’t mean August won’t be awful, but at least we’ll be on vacation for part of it. And, with any luck, the vacation won’t result in my getting sick… or one of the dogs getting sick… or Bill getting sick. I love Scotland, but every time I go there, someone gets sick. Knocking on wood that this time, it will go off without a hitch.

Speaking of scams… today also marks what would have been Bill’s 29th wedding anniversary to his ex wife, who did all she could to rip him off while she had the chance. I usually forget about this day, but Bill reminds me. Today, I reminded him. He looked sheepish and said he’d like to forget about it, but I reminded him that if he hadn’t gone through his time with Ex, maybe he wouldn’t have ended up where he is now. Where he is now isn’t a bad place at all…

As for me, 29 years ago, I was preparing to begin my freshman year at Longwood University. I wasn’t all that excited to go there, but it turned out to be a great choice for me. I still have many great friends from those years. In fact, one friend from Longwood pointed out that we’ve had a running joke about a short story by Stephen Crane since 1991. Everyone else who sees me write “I ain’t got a gun on me, Scratchy”, will think we’re joking about The Simpsons. But, in fact, we are joking about “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”. Of course, we probably thought “Scratchy Wilson” was funny because of The Simpsons, which was very hot TV back in those days… not that I ever watched it much.

Anyway… August 1st is another day of infamy that isn’t so bad now… Here’s hoping your August is scam free and fun. And Jose manages to go fuck himself with his threats of indecent exposure.

Edited to add: Bill wonders why I would pay Jose $600 in Bitcoins when I could obviously sell that video on the Internet and make mucho dinero…

Standard