09 December 2007

A Week of Things I Like

I've decided to post a different one of my favorite things every day this week. Too often, I focus on the negative and unpleasant things in life. This is my attempt to focus on some of the wonderful things I enjoy each day.

Thing 1: The scene in Casablanca where Victor Laszlo leads the whole bar in drowning out "Die Wacht am Rhein" with "La Marseillaise." One of the greatest moments in cinema, and one that never fails to give me goosebumps. I think the reason I like it so much is because it highlights the power of people united against evil.

It's funny -- Most of the time, displays of nationalism seem undesirable to me, since they tend to polarize people and create an "us/them" mentality. Sometimes, this mentality even arises within the nation itself, between ultra-loyalists and more moderate patriots. That's what I call "a house divided against itself."

So why is this time different? Why do I love, love LOVE this scene so much? I think it is because there is a small group of bullies who get overcome by the people they are attempting to bully. The Germans in this film are very aware of their political power, and I find it inspiring that the crowd at Rick's is willing to stand up against that power. They are immediately punished for it, of course, when the bar is summarily closed (because the commandant is shocked -- SHOCKED -- to learn that there is gambling going on there... right before an employee comes up and hands him his winnings for the evening).

But that willingness to fight against evil is something that no amount of closing bars can destroy.

Great flick. :-)

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