Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I saw this film for the first time back in January when I added it to my blu-ray collection. Now it didn't personally grip me in any immediate way but I do appreciate the film for it's core theme and the execution and technique employed to communicate the message. From an intellectual standpoint, I admire the film. It made Humphrey Bogart one of my favorite actors as well. It's quite a sweeping romantic film with iconic characters and memorable lines, that tells a story about putting aside our personal feelings, our own individual desires for a greater cause, for the greater good. The film came out in 1943 and many critics have pointed out it's strong case against isolationism in general but specifically in regards to America's role in World War Two. The majority of the film takes place in Rick's tavern in Casablanca, a neutral port-city in Morocco, Africa during WWII. Rick is a cynical tough-guy/con-man who's catch phrase is "I stick my neck for nobody!". Many refugees pass through Rick's tavern, some looking to him for help but Rick turns many of them down. Eventually an old flame returns to his tavern and it reignites feelings and passions he's long since repressed. She arrives with her husband, a resistance leader against the Nazi and Rick must make that difficult choice of virtue over love and help them escape while putting his feelings for his former lover aside. The film was a blockbuster for it's time and very widely successful and popular with audiences. It certainly played a part in the evolving nature of American's view of the developing war and perhaps played a role in inspiring Americans to believe that America had a part to play in the international community and in the war.

Now, one might question what relevance this film has today. My answer is it has enormous relevance. The film is situated around WWII but it concerns itself with the conflict of Isolationism verses International Unity in general. The most recent issue regarding this conflict is the situation in Libya. Americans are divided on Libya. Some supported a U.S intervention, others were against it. Many people say we have our own problems to deal with and that we should stick our neck out for nobody. I personally feel it is a false choice. We can take care of ourselves and also extend a helping hand to nations in need. Now, we cannot go all over the world intervening in every conflict but in certain unique cases, we can intercede in a brief and practical but very effective manner. I feel Libya was one of those situations. I felt President Obama handled it very well. He coordinated with NATO and the UN, he took the right steps, did what we could militarily to assist the rebels against Quaddafi and then we were out of there. It was quick, efficient and intelligent. An almost complete reverse of Iraq.

The rising up of people all over the Middle East and their plea for freedom and democracy is very inspiring. We did not need to bring it to them or force it upon them with the barrel of a gun; the desire and dream for liberty came from the people themselves. The uprisings and revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt spread like a beacon of hope throughout the entire middle east. In more and more countries, the cry for independence is being heard. America, the former emblem of hopes and dreams for a better future and still a superpower in the world and her allies had an obligation to help the rebels in Libya achieve what they could not have done on their own. It was a noble effort on the part of the U.S and the UN. Building a sense of international community and unity and reaffirming American's place in the world is very important. The strongest pillars of defense against terrorists and those who would seek to destroy us lies in the alliances and international ties we need to foster. We all share this world whether we like it or not. We do not all live in closed-off little bubbles. We share a symbiotic relation with our brothers and sisters all over the world. The cynical isolationist has a point in that we only have so many resources and I agree with that. We cannot be too hawkish but that doesn't mean we can't intervene when we don't go in alone and when we have a clear plan and our intervening can really make a difference, preferably peacefully but also militarily if absolutely necessary.

We cannot close ourselves off from the rest of the world. We cannot think only of ourselves. That view of the world is poisonous. We become too insular, too self-interested we lose a sense of common purpose and responsibility. We become self-centered and ignorant. As Rick learns in Casablanca, sometimes we have to stick our neck out for somebody, for the greater good of the world and for humanity.

Opening to a New Begining

Hello everyone! Welcome to my new blog. I'm probably going to be mostly talking to myself here as I doubt many people would care to read my ramblings but if you are reading, hello and thank you! This will be my first adventure into the world of blogging. I intend to use this blog as a personal pensive. Sometimes my mind feels a wee bit stretched and placing my thoughts here would be a great help ;).

So, where to begin? I'm Vince. I'm a 22-year old college student studying to be a Journalist. I'm a huge Harry Potter fan in-case you didn't catch the references and I'm also a Star Wars fan. I consider myself a Hufflepuff. I prefer reading non-fiction books and watching non-fiction documentaries, with HP and SW (and maybe Lord of the Rings) being the few exceptions. I'm very much interested in politics (huge understatement! I'm a politics NERD lol) and instead of watching TV shows like normal people, I watch political news. I try to be fair so I watch both Fox News and MSNBC. I used to consider myself center-left but now I lean much more heavily to the left. I'm an Agnostic which means I simply believe we cannot know for certain what's out there. I'm a bit of a romantic and an optimist but my optimism grew from being pessimistic. Once you lower your expectations a wee bit and adjust your perception of life so you look for the right things and focus on the right things and be humble enough to realize how fortunate we are to be alive at all, you'll see the good in life a lot more. Not to sound arrogant, just my view on things.

Feel free to leave comments on my blog debating me or just commenting on something I said or correcting a mistake or telling me what a moron I am. ;) Hopefully this will work out nicely. :)