CADAQUÉS, Catalonia, Spain – Dispatch from Spain’s Cold Civil War.
Speaker of the U.S. House Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics are local.” In today’s world, no politics are local.
Both Donald Tusk from the European Union and Donald Trump from the United States have issued recent statements supporting a view of the Catalonian conflict as an internal matter. Yet the very fact that both leaders felt called to comment on it reveals that Barcelona’s relation to Madrid has the easy potential to affect wider interests even as far away as Washington.
After last week’s introduction to the seductive power of the fundamentalist cult “The Way International” and the practice of speaking in tongues, in this installment, readers will find out more about both Charlene Edge’s “faded scars” as well as memories of happier times while serving The Way. Charlene also shares insider perspectives on The Way’s teachings and comments on her relationship to religion and spirituality today. One of this talented memoirist’s greatest passions has become her mission to warn people about The Way, a non-profit organization that not only controls all aspects of its members’ lives, but also their purse strings.
In her award-winning book Undertow, Charlene Edge dissects her past as a long-time member of one of the largest fundamentalist cults in the United States, “The Way International.” Undertow is a demonstration of the dangers of fundamentalism and the destructive nature of cults. Through her personal story, Charlene Edge shows how a vulnerable person can be seduced into following an authoritarian leader and how difficult it can be to find a way out.
Charlene’s experiences with “The Way” depicts the downward spiraling of a college student who – for reasons all her own – fell for a certain kind of propaganda. Now, if it happened to her, why not to you? To us?
The attacks on the World Trade Center as well as the Pentagon in September 2001, dubbed 9/11, were a major news event. As is the case with traumatic events, people often remember exactly what they were doing when they heard the news. With 9/11, however, visual images have been engraved in people’s minds as well: a plane flying into the towers and people subsequently – out of sheer desperation – jumping out of windows. Michael Moore’s documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, offers an alternative media perspective signifying 9/11: that of a president overwhelmed by the news and incapable of an immediate reaction.
For the past decades, sitcoms have been omnipresent in our everyday lives. On TV, in magazines, or on the Internet – it’s hard to escape the stars and storylines of How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, or Two and a Half Men. But when did this phenomenon begin? That’s easy: On November 18, 1947, Mary Kay and Johnny, the first sitcom ever broadcast on American TV, premiered on DuMont Television Network. Mary Kay and Johnny was a domestic situation comedy following the real life of newlywed couple Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns. By the time they started the show they had been married for about one year. The plot focused on the couple building their life together in the Big Apple with Johnny working at a bank and Mary Kay living the life of a typical housewife in their Greenwich Village apartment. So what exactly made this show extraordinary?
There is a wonderful spot west of the city of Frankfurt in Germany. It’s in an area well known for its excellent white wine, its charming hilly landscape, and its welcoming people. It’s called The Rheingau. Once you make your way up a hill from Rüdesheim, maybe comfortably using the cable car, a fantastic view over the river Rhine opens up. From there, the Niederwald landscape park, you can see for miles to the West, overlooking the tranquil Rhine valley and even have the illusion that you actually see France.
When I was there not long ago my daughter asked me about the statue named Germania that is hovering over the platform where people are gathering for the view. The 34-foot figure is called Germania. In her right hand the lady holds the emperor’s recovered crown; in her other she displays the Imperial Sword. I explained that the monument’s message was not a peaceful one. Only a few years before the inauguration of the statue in 1883, Prussia had just fought another war with France, uniting the German princes for the first time into a single nation state. The Germania was nothing else but a warning to the French: Stay where you are, don’t even think about coming here. This is ours.