Archive | August, 2016

…and now, it’s just us

21 Aug

Note:  This script is available for production. righttrax@aol.com for details.

 

…and now, it’s just us

by Robert Magill

This screenplay is not for a cartoon but for extremely realistic animation or stop-motion.  State of the art.

Scene 1
Shores of Eastern Mediterranean

Several months prior to Spring

At sunrise

VOICE  OVER (Mature female voice): Hello. I know something of my people to tell you.
We were great travelers and tellers’ of stories
Of oceans and seas in our path and
Mountains at our back.
Rivers of sand lay below one path and terrible cold
At the other. I sewed. My hair was the color of rust and
My face of yak milk. I had three babes
Two lived.

Semi-permanent encampment of a group, about 30 women and girls of various ages, babes in arms and boys to about 8 years of age. No men are seen. These people are the Alphas.

The camp abuts a slight bluff which forms the back wall. Poles support thatching and pelts to form a roof.
Bedding pallets at the rear. Several fieldstone hearths are at the front. Several spears with stone points and shafts with sharpened ends are seen. Pelts and hides abound along with hanging joints of meat and dried fish. Small troves of grapes, fruit etc. are seen. Tortoise shells and gourds hold water. The camp abuts a small river or large stream

As they stir from sleep and prepare for the day we are aware of their exotic nature. Of average height, well formed, they have complexions ranging from light tan to mocha to almost white. Most adults have auburn hair and all have blue or bluish green eyes. The Alpha people walk with a lurching gate. They are obviously not like us in all respects but aside from skull shape, and body mass; they could be cousins. Some don pelts as stoles or capes against the chill but they are somewhat unclothed in the Sinai heat..
neanderthal

They stoke up the fire embers for cooking and warmth. Individuals wander into the bush and we see small boys peeing on the edges to clue us the reason for the bush visits.

When the camp is in full swing and the sun is high several men and older boys appear laden with firewood, pelts and meat. They are acknowledged politely, friendly enough but not excitedly.
They examine the largest of the boys. He embraces his mother and gathers his belongings. Having distributed their burdens and exchanged briefly with the females, they depart.

Scene 2
At noon

V.O.

Stories of a better place had us follow down the great river.
I grew old on the journey but my babes
Grew strong and long forgo the old ways.                                                               

Others will tell the story of the people who lived long;
Long enough to see the time of the ice and
The good time and then the ice again
And still we lived.

A smaller camp site at some distance. The males we have seen are returning to this camp with the new boy. This group is entirely of men and older boys. No women or girls are seen. It has a less permanent aspect and although a hunting camp; it is a home base. Spears abound and some of the group are flaking points nearby. The returnees are greeted and offered food. This camp has fire sites at four corners. While we watch a group prepares to leave the gathering. They carry unlighted torches along with weapons, water gourds and food parcels. Younger members are charged with carrying the fire sources.

Scene 3

Late afternoon
The trekkers

Following a river they travel mostly single file except for younger children edging near the women or in gaggles with friends. About seventy make up the march; men women, children and babes in arms and a few elderly who struggle to keep up. This group carries all its possessions, weapons and fire sources. They are quite distinct from the Alpha group in appearance. These, the Betas, are smaller and much darker than the Alphas. The appear more agile and less clumsy than the other group. They resemble in many ways the indigenous peoples of Australia and Oceana. What is quite noticeable is the pleasant interactions and sociability between the men and women which is noticeably absent with the Alpha group.

They have a primitive look, as does the other group, but we are aware of less exposure of flesh and the presence of considerably more garments being worn by all. These trekkers are the Beta people.
cro-magnon

Scene 4
Morning
Breaking camp

We see the final breaking up of the night camp and departure for the day’s trek. We see several lions stalking the group. Becoming aware of the lions the Betas light torches and herd the women and children behind for safety. The lions are repelled by the fire and slink away, muttering. We see that mastery of fire has given mankind dominion over all other animals and will assure his survival.

Scene 5
Afternoon

Alpha hunters stalking a large antelope make a smoky fire; test the wind with a wet finger, then coat themselves with smoke to cover scent. They signal stalking instructions and set off in pursuit. They fling lances at the beast several of which strike home. The antelope rushes off with the spears imbedded. The new boy starts to pursue the beast but elders caution him to sit and wait. They all squat while the prey is seen nearby, bleeding out. As they are butchering they hear murmuring in the distance and espy the Betas for the first time. Great hubub and concern. They have not yet been seen by the other group.

Scene 6
Same time

Betas on trek.

Scene 7
Same time

Alpha pow-wow ends with accord and they appear to confront the other group.

Scene 8
Same time

Historical epic event! Each group stunned at the appearance of the other. Several women break the long impasse to offer food to the others. The Alpha hunters are shy at first but the slightly coquettish demeanor of the women breaks the ice. Beta men are nonplussed.

Scene 9
Nightfall

V.O. . It happened first in the land near the sand.
A few at first. Then more. Still more all the time.
We were bewildered.
The new ones were like us but not of us.
We were fair, they were dark. We liked them.
They liked us.

Both groups arrive at the Alpha women’s dwelling place carrying parts of the antelope. The groups gape and gawk at each other. The sight of the beautiful, light complexioned, relatively unclothed Alpha women in the flickering firelight, stun the Beta men. Some mild flirtations are attempted. The Alpha men are entranced by the erotic seeming and quite forward Beta gals who approach them casually.

Scene 10
Some time later

The Betas begin to make camp nearby. Alpha men approach Beta men and offer to share the use of the Alpha male camp which is refused. The Alphas are amazed the Betas prefer the company of the women.

Scene 11
Morning

The Betas are led to the stream and shown the region to be theirs to inhabit. They gather their belongings, say goodbye and cross the water.

Scene 11a
Day break

Beta hunters cross the river to join Alphas in a hunt. As they prowl through the bush a Beta is struck by a venomous snake and expires. The group carry the body back to the compound and the Alpha people convince the others to have an earth burial with garlands in the grave rather than exposure to the elements; the Beta way of closure.

Scene 12
Evening

The Alphas along the bank observe the Beta couples pairing off for romantic episodes that go on for hours. They look perplexedly at each other. The moon above is at first quarter.

Scene 13
Evening

The Alpha males appear at the Alpha women’s’ compound seeking romance only to be gently rebuffed.
The moon appears in the 2nd quarter.

Scene 14
Evening

A group of Beta girls cross the river and meet up with Alpha men. They pair off and go into the bush.

We see a special relationship brewing between an Alpha man with an ornately carved staff and a shawl of woven reeds and a nubile, young Beta girl whose forward manner both pleases and perplexes him.  Instead of rushing off into the bush like the others they develop a sort of shy courtship. The others return from the bush and he reluctantly begins to leave with the other Alphas but looks back longingly towards her as he leaves.  She in turn, is seen quite pensive and thoughtful in contrast to her usual perky demeanor.

 The moon is in the third quarter. Again Alpha men approach Alpha women and are turned away.

Scene 15

Evening

V.O.  We like them and they like us, that’s true but

            Our women flow only on the long times while theirs

            Flow with each big moon and that makes trouble

            Among the new men who don’t know us well.

 

Two Beta men approach Alpha women who appeared interested at first meeting but are turned away as well. They come to realize over time that the Alpha women are limited to seasonal or rhythmical sex as are many other mammals whereas Beta women are available 24/7. They will learn in time that was why Alpha males live alone. The moon is seen still in third quarter.

Scene 15a
The moon is in transit though four waxing and wanings. On the forth full moon Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring is heard.

 We see the shawl draped man give a beautiful flower to the Beta girl.  The relationship has bloomed and they are quite involved with each other.  The music heightens and they slip into the bush together.

Scene 16

Evening

A large group of Alpha men approach the Alpha women who respond willingly having come into season together.  The moon is full and the coupling intense.  After the Alpha men leave, a few Beta men approach the women who, although sated, oblige them as well.

 Scene 17

Passage of time is simulated by rapid seasonal changes.

Scene 18
Day

Several Alpha women have newborns. The babies range from blue eyed little Alphas to darker infants with blue or brown eyes. The females are wild about the looks of these; the first new people. Alpha males are largely indifferent to infants.  

The Beta girl appears among them.  Her Alpha man rushes up and fusses over the infant. All are astounded

Scene 19
Same Day

Beta women arrive with babies. Light skinned also with blue or brown eyes; more little Humans. Beta men fuss over the little ones.

 

Scene 20
The passage of time is shown through the prevalence and growth of the Human type offspring to the toddler stage.

Scene 21
Early evening
A gathering

Many Alpha males are seen in congress with Beta women. Few Beta males with Alpha females are in evidence. The Beta males seem dejected. They are aware now of the seasonal availability of Alpha women but feel slighted by the circumstances. The different basic natures of the two types is driving a rift between them.

Scene 22
Time passage
Morning

At the gathering of both clans many of the Beta females are obviously pregnant. The Alpha women much less so.

Scene 23
Passage of time

At the Beta camp most of the women have new babies. The Beta male leader examines the infants. Compares the many who have very light skin and blue eyes with his own. He seems distressed and signals other men excitedly. They gather about him.

Scene 24
Early morning

An Alpha hunting party enters the Beta camp. They expect to have the Betas join them in a hunt. They are rebuffed. The Alphas look puzzled and leave.

Scene 25
Day
Alpha compound

The atmosphere between the groups has noticeably changed. The Alpha and Beta women still are close but the Beta men are very standoffish with the all Alphas.

Scene 26
Afternoon

A party of Alpha hunters come upon Beta hunters in the bush. The Alphas are friendly but the Beta men are demonstrably hostile. After a tense interval the Betas stalk away.

Scene 27
Morning
Beta encampment

The entire clan is in evidence. The men are very agitated but the women seem bewildered.
Several men begin to gather belongings and others gesture the direction for departure.

Scene 28
One day later, early morning

V.O. When there were more of the new kind than us
Some grown ones moved away toward
The rising light.
At least so the ancient ones tell us.
Stories retold when important gatherings happen.
Not sad tales but still…we wonder
How they fare and should we go to the new light
As well.

The Beta clan is seen leaving the abandoned camp and trekking away following the river. The size of the group has greatly increased as evidenced by many small children and babes in arms.  The Beta girl is frantic.  The senior males insist she leave with the clan.

The Alphas stand on their side of the river watching them leave. Several shake heads in disbelief.

Scene 29

The Beta girl and the infant are seen crossing the stream to the Alpha side.  Her man sees her and waits with open arms.

Scene 30

Long passage of time

In the Alpha women’s compound a feast of sorts is in progress. Several
adolescent boy and girl new people are pairing off with each other and with Alpha and Beta youths as well. We see the original Alpha population has been greatly altered by the influx of the new ones and in the future will change even more. Many of the remaining Alphas are elderly; meaning 40ish.

Scene 31
Passage of time

Midday Alpha camp
Several men and boys are in the camp when the vanguard of another Beta troop
comes upon them. The new Betas are very wary until they are welcomed heartedly and
taken to the women’s compound.

V.O.

After the last big ice went away a tale is told of
Another leaving of our people.
But now the path is toward the pale sun
That lingers long in the pass.
Fewer and fewer are the old type people seen now.
Higher we travel toward the lands
Where the ice once had been covering over
The grass.

During credits roll the following are seen and a male V.O. explains:

The population of the region has expanded greatly and local resources are strained. A large contingent of Humans set out on a trek and will settle first in Southeast Asia and later in Australia and Oceania.

V.O. We are mostly all the new people now.
Small bands remain of the old.
The large water is near and many leave
To live afar.
Brave ones go out on the big water to follow the sun.
We see not one of the old type people now
Only their empty caves. Alas. They lived here for
Most all of time.

Male V.O.

The regions north of the Levant fill up. Populations of Humans spread Eastward thoughout Asia and into the Americas and throughout Europe. The last known Alpha expired somewhere in Spain about 30 thousand years ago after about 200 thousand years of existence. The mixing of the clans has mingled the two groups completely.

END

 

…and now, it’s just us.
copyright 2015

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Our Ruinous Legacy: A Cowboy Culture

18 Aug

They were nomads, herdsmen, wranglers of animals.  Their homes were the deserts and steppes; lonely places with wide horizons and vague boundaries delimited only by looming mountains. They lay each night, under the stars, projecting themselves upon the vast cosmos. Reflecting back was celestial hubris. For two thousand years these wanderers roamed about with little regard for place or home site. During dry times they left hearth, tent and domesticity to follow the grasses with the flocks. They were sovereign.

All their charges were held to be less than they; children and women included. The resultant desensitization caused by unchallenged rule over their beasts and their fellow humans was then layered with enormous inflation of self until: a power-centered ‘cowboy culture’ entered history.

We have graphic evidence of the impact of these newcomers who descended from the eastern steppes and from the southern deserts on the nascent civilizations they encountered. Called Kurgans, if from the vast eastern regions; Semites if from the southern deserts; the impact of these warlike invaders on the settled others was devastating. Cultures were abandoned, destroyed or starkly modified.

They brought their weapons and their gods.  To smite and to smote, to rapine and to enslave, these warlike hoards brandished metal weapons and in the way of the Kurgans, rode their war ponies into the lives of agrarian homesteads.

Their gods were as they were; fierce, relentless, demanding and macho. Nothing was the same after these visitations and the planet itself suffers today from the manifestations of this chaotic influence.

Humankind never recovered from these violent intrusions into our peaceful and hitherto, successful, existence. In a scant seven or eight millenniums, the more benign behaviors that assured successful human existence during the passage of incredible amounts of prior time were stripped from the future and left us as we are: murderous, fanatical, patriarchal and now possibly, doomed.

Only an immediate return to a bucolic, equal partnership between the sexes and a cessation of the fatal imbalance caused by myopic male vision and de facto male rule of the entire planet can save the day. The odds of this occurring are exceedingly low and without it all is, more than likely, lost.

Evil or Banal?

18 Aug

I must argue that what occurred in Germany in the thirties and forties was basically the most science- minded people on the planet practicing what was still considered to be, in that era, good science. Having been regarded as an academic discipline at many universities, the popular movement leading to the horror shows was supported in the US by Theodore Roosevelt, by scientists like Linus Pauling and by W.E.B. DuBois. In fact, this was not a decidedly right-wing effort, many progressives were onboard with it. Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Dalton, founded the movement in the U.K. and coined the phrase “Eugenics”.

[“ It is a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher rates of sexual reproduction for people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics)”.]

Eugenics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

The movement was soon picked up enthusiastically in America and in time became legal in 50 states and some 60,000 so-called ‘defectives’ were forcibly sterilized with the intention of thereby improving society. Adolph Hitler included eugenic ideas in Mein Kampf but then, at the time, Winston Churchill and Margaret Sanger were supporters as well.  Hitler went on to institute legislation in Germany sponsoring eugenics to sterilize ‘defectives’ copying what  had been first pioneered in the United States known as the California method.

Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Progeny became law on July 14, 1933 in the Reich and led to 350,00 forced sterilizations in five years. However in order for the legalization of  “mercy killings” more time was needed to coax public opinion.  Hitler feared negative reactions by Christian churches. Modern propaganda techniques would eventually provide  the impetus to change public opinion.

[The first euthanasia episode emerged in the 1920s, as an adjunct to the eugenics campaign. “Racial improvement” stood at that time as a certified science, in America as in Europe. Professors of eugenics took posts in many prestigious universities, with the goal of improving the racial stock by encouraging the genetically “fit” to reproduce and by discouraging the so-called unfit from having children. Laws for the forced sterilization of these “unfit”—usually defined as the mentally ill, chronic alcoholics, epileptics, and persons with physical defects—enjoyed particular popularity in the United States. Indeed, experts saw the California law as the most progressive, a model of applied science devoted to “the public good.”] Dr. Allan Carlson

 

William Inge,  Anglican clergyman who wrote for the Eugenics Education Society in Britain, was an invited speaker at the International Eugenics Conference in 1921 endorsed by the Archbishop of New York. Popular support continued with such notables as H.G.Welles, Havelock Ellis and George Barnard Shaw on board until the excesses and sheer madness of the extermination camps in Europe were uncovered at war’s end.  Some of the defendants at the Nurenburg Trials after the war offered as defense that their actions were similar to what had originated in the United States. Most countries turned away from eugenics at this point but the US still continued with its sterilization programs.

It is tempting and very human to rail at the discovery of “pure evil” lurking in other humans. The discovery of the merely banal doesn’t seem to have enough sizzle for us.  To project absolute and intransigent loathing on a person or group seems a better fit somehow. So let it be with the Third Reich. Or perhaps we need to consider the solemn advocacy of learned and respected voices in Germany and abroad for prior decades that had preceded the terrible excesses.  Perhaps also we should acknowledge there had existed within the populous  a genuine desire to improve society and then add  the relentless  propaganda of radio, press and film they were subjected to for a generation. Top off with the grinding conditions suffered in a time of war. Does banal begin to deserve equal billing with evil here?

If one generation subjected to modern propaganda techniques championing a flawed scientific agenda placed a culture in lockstep towards such horrors as occurred how are we immune to a similar fate after being subjected to three additional generations of much improved propaganda now labeled “manufactured consent”? Consider our own society in light of recent adventures home and abroad:

Forced internment in camps of tens of thousands of American citizens. Fire bombing of Dresden and Tokyo.  Hiroshima. Nagasaki.  Evil? Nope. We hear no Evil.

Continuing to forcibly sterilize Americans even after the WW ll revelations. Blitz bombing of North Korea. Agent Orange in Viet Nam.  Evil?  Nope. We see no Evil.

Torture regimes in Guantanamo. At Abu Ghraib. Afghanistan. Iraq. Ethiopia. Syria.  Evil?  Nope. We speak no Evil.

If the American collective consciousness neither sees, hears nor speaks of our own Evil, do we not then resemble, considering our same abiding interest in science and progress, the vast proportion of German citizens in the 1940s? And if this is so, how then are we immune to the ministrations of a forceful or seductive set of false values that will bring us as a people to equal horrors and actions?