Thursday, July 27, 2017

THE REAL DESMOND DOSS: AMERICAN HERO

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Yesterday I reviewed the movie Hacksaw Ridge. I promised that today would be about the real Desmond Doss, who is played by Andrew Garfield.

Andrew Garfield


Desmond Doss
Spoiler Alert: If you are interested in viewing Hacksaw Ridge, then you might not want to read this post.

First, I thank those of you who set me straight on the length of men's hair during military service in World War II. The buzz cut required of future generations was not yet de rigueur.

While Desmond Doss was alive, he wouldn't allow a movie to be made about his exploits because he said it would be a typical Hollywood movie. Plus, he was a humble man. However, he did participate in the creation of a documentary called The Conscientious Objector (2004) before he died in 2006. I would like to see this film, but it's not available on Netflix or Amazon Prime. It can be purchased on Amazon. The DVD is a manufacture-on-demand item that costs $2.47. It's classified as an "add-on" that ships for free if included with a $25 purchase.

The most moving part of Hacksaw Ridge for me was the end: it includes footage of the real Desmond, his brother Hal, and some of his army comrades. Thus, I'm especially interested in the documentary.

Now, here's some information about The Real Desmond v. The Movie Desmond.

Movie Desmond [MD] insists on enlisting.
Real Desmond [RD] was drafted in 1942.

MD finishes training and heads straight to Okinawa for his initial experience as a medic during battle.
RD shipped out to Guam, then Leyte in the Philippines, and then to Okinawa.

MD nearly shoots his father while saving his mother when his father almost shoots her.
RD's mother broke up a fight between her husband and his brother and asked RD to hide the gun his father used to threaten his brother. RD vowed it would be the last time he touched a gun.

MD's father is an abusive drunk.
RD's father drank, but not to excess. He was not abusive.

MD first sees the woman he will marry when she's working as a nurse.
RD met Dorothy at church. She did not become a nurse until after the war. She did so then because RD was disabled and she needed to help support their family.

MD misses his wedding because he's put in a cell to await court martial.
RD--didn't happen.

MD is pulled out of bed and attacked by the men in his company.
Although RD was harassed, no such beating occurred.

MD is nearly court-martialed.
RD was threatened with court-martial by one officer, but another officer told the first that he had to respect RD's status.

MD's father shows up in his uniform from WWI to ask his former commanding officer to prevent MD's court martial.
RD's father called a church War Commission when RD was denied leave. RD was then given a pass so he could see his brother before he shipped out with the Navy.

MD treats Japanese soldiers and lowers them over the side of a cliff in the same way that he rescues Americans.
RD was told by the other men in his company that they would shoot him if he treated a Japanese soldier. 

All of the action in the movie appears to take place during a few days. The real Desmond Doss went through far more than is depicted. In fact, Mel Gibson said that he didn't show everything that happened to Desmond because people would not believe it:

"Mel Gibson stated there were aspects of this event that were true but that he couldn't include in the film because he felt people wouldn't believe they were true: Doss stepped on a grenade to save his buddies and was hit by shrapnel, but as he was being carried away by medics he saw another soldier hurt; since Doss himself was a medic he jumped off his stretcher and treated that soldier and told the medics to take care of other wounded soldiers; he then crawled back to safety while being shot at by enemy snipers."

By the time Doss reached Okinawa, he had already been awarded two bronze stars for bravery. Later, Harry Truman awarded Doss the Medal of Honor. He was the first conscientious objector to be so honored (Alvin York also received the Medal of Honor, but he carried a weapon and for a time denied that he had been a conscientious objector). 

No one is sure how many men Doss saved at Okinawa by lowering them over the escarpment. The unassuming Doss thought it was fifty. Others placed it at 100. The official number became seventy-five as a compromise, but Doss also treated numerous other men.

Desmond Doss returned to the United States as a severely disabled man because of his wounds and because he had contracted tuberculosis before his discharge from the military in 1946. He lost a lung and five ribs to this scourge and spent most of six years in hospitals. He was given an overdose of antibiotics that caused him to lose his hearing for twelve years. He then received a cochlear implant and regained his hearing.

He was married to his beloved Dorothy until her death in 1991. They had one child, Desmond T. Doss, Jr. 

My point about the movie is that the real life of Desmond Doss was more than enough to make a great movie. Gibson didn't need to embroider the tale and turn Doss into a Christ-figure. I can't imagine that Doss would have liked that. He did not want to have a typical Hollywood movie made about him. And Gibson thought that people wouldn't believe the extent of Doss's bravery? I believe the truth. Real, living heroes are not stock characters. They are not clichés. They are complex human beings who deserve to have their stories told without the distractions of unnecessary changes.

"Mel Gibson said that the battle scenes were influenced by nightmares he had during his childhood, when his father Hutton Gibson, a WW2 veteran who served in Guadalcanal in the Pacific theatre, described the horrors he witnessed as bedtime stories."

The horrors witnessed by Mel Gibson's father––NOT the horrors witnessed by Desmond Doss. Keep it real, Mel.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Sources: History vs. Hollywood, Internet Movie Database, Desmond Doss



President Truman presents Desmond Doss with the Medal of Honor.
Photo courtesy Desmond Doss Council
An aging Desmond Doss
Photo courtesy Desmond Doss Council



Note: Most of the actors in the movie, including a number of the American soldiers, are played by Australian actors. Gibson cast the Australians to attain Australian tax incentives for the making of the movie


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

MOVIE WEEKEND NO-NO: HACKSAW RIDGE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I believe that art transcends time, place, and even its creator. If it doesn't, then it must not be art. Mel Gibson, a misogynistic anti-Semite who would feel right at home in the White House, has created yet another piece of non-art with the movie Hacksaw Ridge (2016, Rated R, Available On DVD and HBO).


I was appalled––appalled I tell you––when Mel Gibson received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. A nod from the academy tends to mean "we forgive you for being a drunken asshole because you have created true art." Ha! In Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson uses stock characters and clichés to explore the paradox of a non-violent person in the middle of great violence. In other words, the theme is that one brave man working alone can become a Christ-figure during the hell that is war.

I did not add Hacksaw Ridge to my Netflix queue because I detest and despise Mel Gibson. But Hacksaw Ridge did receive quite a few award nominations, and won some, including two Academy Awards (thank God one was not Best Director for Mel Gibson). When it turned up on HBO a few nights ago, I thought, Okay. I'm not paying extra for it. I'll watch it.

I'm sorry I did except for the opportunity that it provides me to warn you that it is a hideous movie. Here are some examples of its stupidity:

  • Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) is the son of a drunk Virginia hillbilly who served in the Great War and deals with his PTSD by beating his wife and kids
  • Desmond follows his mama's example and becomes a devout Seventh-Day Adventist
  • Desmond falls in love at first sight with a nurse
  • Desmond feels he must enlist during Dubya Dubya Two
  • Desmond is a conscientious objector, whose commanding officer won't assign him to be the medic he was promised he could be
  • Therefore, the sergeant makes it clear to his men that they should beat the crap out of Desmond
  • He's about to be court-martialed when Hillbilly Daddy shows up in his Great War uniform and saves the day
  • Desmond goes off to the Battle of Okinawa and saves a shitload of men
  • Before the men go into battle a second time, they wait for Desmond to finish praying
  • Desmond saves a metric fuck-ton of men while running like Secretariat toward the finish line as glorious movie music plays and he chants, Please, God. Let me save one mo' (thick Virginia accent)
  • Desmond is finally appreciated
Some critics have called Hacksaw Ridge the first great war movie since Saving Private Ryan. No. It's not. Saving Private Ryan made me feel as if I were in the boat preparing to storm the beach. It made me care about its characters and what they experienced, no matter how awful it was. Hacksaw Ridge made me think about throwing up everything, including my toenails. It is repeatedly grotesque to the point that I would place it in the horror/slasher genre.

Tomorrow I hope to tell you about the real Desmond Doss, who was a true hero. Other than saying that Andrew Garfield gives a decent performance in spite of the dreck that surrounds him, I grant no Janie Junebug Seal whatsoever to Hacksaw Ridge.

View at your own peril.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. And what about the hair on these "soldiers"?


For a movie that supposedly goes to such pains to be realistic, why don't these guys have regulation haircuts?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

TIP TUESDAY: WORD PARTS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Words can have three parts: a suffix, a prefix, and a root.

A suffix comes after the root, as in added. The -ed indicates past tense. Pre means before, so a prefix is fixed before the word. The root is the basic word.

"In most dictionaries, a word part printed with a hyphen after it is a prefix. A word part with a hyphen before it is a suffix. Roots may appear anywhere."

Learning the meanings of suffixes, prefixes, and roots can assist you in your word comprehension. For example, son and phon mean sound.

sonorous: having or producing an impressive sound
sonic: of or relating to sound
phonograph: a machine that reproduces sound from a disk
phonetics: the study of the sounds of speech

audi = hearing
scop, spec, vid, and vis = see
ocul = eye
voc, vocal = voice, call
ped, pus = foot
man = hand
cardio = heart

I bet you recognize some or most of these roots and don't even have to think about their meanings when you see them.

We'll probably talk about more word parts next week.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

I leaned very heavily on my source to write this post. It's Vocabulary For A New World by Linda J. Palumbo and Frank J. Gaik.


Thanks, fishducky!

Monday, July 24, 2017

TROOPING THE COLOUR 2017

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's past time for my annual poust (in honor of British tradition I'm adding U to the spelling of as many wourds as poussible) on Trooping The Colour, which took place way back in June. It's an annual poust because I pousted about it last year and someone coummented that it was in very poor taste. I'm not one to miss an oppourtunity to shouw off my bad taste, so here we go again––better late than never.

Queen Elizabeth's birthday is April 21, but the official celebration of her birthday is during June when the weather is warmer, so the Trooping the Colour souldiers in their gigantic hats can stand still for hours and pass out from the heat. Soldiers who dare to pass out are shot immediately.


Trooping the Colour always features appearances by the Rouyal Family, especially on the balcouny. But why are they all looking up?


Of course! It's Queen Donald. He's oun the balcouny above theirs because he's more impourtant than anyone else in the wourld.

Royal? I don't think so.
I'm royal.
A royal pussy grabber!

Prince George thinks, Didn't I do this last year? I know they said I have to do this for the rest of my life, but I didn't think they really meant it.



While George perks up at the thought ouf birthday cake, William loousens his belt.

Queen Elizabeth wounders, Who is that little girl? I'm 91. I can't keep track ouf all these people, especially with Voldemort standing behind me again.

No one knouws who the guy on the left is, but they'll pretend he's suppoused to be there because of his fancy outfit.


The big day also included riding in carriages, as these foulks tend to do. Kate thinks, If I look straight ahead, I can pretend that hourse face isn't next to me.



Oh, gooudy. It's Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice. Or Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. No one is sure, but oune wounders why the family budget didn't include mouney for their orthoudontic work.



And as the happy celebratioun coumes to an end, Kate and William are all smiles because they knouw it's really all about them.


Farewell Glourious Rouyals until Her Majesty has 92, yes 92, candles oun her cake next year.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, July 20, 2017

MY ARM HURTS

I have an injury to my right wrist, so I'll take a few days off from blogging and commenting on your blogs to rest my arm and to ice it so the swelling goes down. Fortunately, it's not broken. Just sore.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Our Island Home

for b.


When we walk on the grounds of
           Our Island Home
We wave at the neighbors off in the distance
We don't call out a hello because our voices
Would waft away on the breeze.
We are alone on the grounds of
           Our Island Home

When we play on the beach at
           Our Island Home
We swim naked and free
We make love in the waves
We rest in the sand because
We are alone on the beach at
           Our Island Home

When we walk to the restaurant near
           Our Island Home
We feast on Northern Italian
We drink red wine 
We wander the roads until
We return from the restaurant alone to
           Our Island Home

We are happy on our own, completely alone, in
           Our Island Home

Thursday, July 13, 2017

RESEMBLANCES

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Occasionally I visit a certain restaurant, and I swear Al Sharpton is always there. It's not really Al Sharpton, of course. I happen to think that this particular guy looks like Al Sharpton. You'll have to take my word for it because I won't invade "Al Sharpton's" privacy by photographing him.

Years ago, The Washington Post pointed out that then Secretary of State Warren Christopher


bore a very strong resemblance to


Kukla. Yes, that Kukla of


These days, I watch the news and every time I see Mitch McConnell


I wonder if his head will disappear into his shirt collar because he looks so much like a


I suspect we'll start to see more of the president's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, who has also played the part of



Mr. Burns' lawyer on The Simpsons (Favorite Young Man told me about this one; I can't stand The Simpsons).



And how about Jeff Sessions?


He's practically a ringer for






Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug, who always looks like a queen (her tiara gives her away along with the frequent mention of "we are not amused")