My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Jane Goodall and Ben Bradlee – a magnificent pair

And now for something completely different: a shot from the taxi home from the island airport. Beautiful downtown Toronto.

No problematic Canada geese floating about amidst the concrete and sparkles. Above it all, invisible here, a super moon.

Today’s excitement: a TWO documentary day. First, to the glorious “Jane” at the Bloor with friend Ken. It’s about Jane Goodall, and what a story – I had no idea she was not a trained scientist when she went to Africa to study chimps, just a young woman who loved animals. She spent months living in the bush to gradually integrate herself into the chimps’ world, and at one point, her mother came from the British countryside to live with her – two fearless Englishwomen camping in the African bush, amidst poisonous snakes and leopards, not to mention the male chimps who, as one interviewer pointed out, “could have ripped your face off.” I knew I’d be fine, she replied serenely, because I was where I should be.

It turns into a love story when a handsome National Geographic reporter arrives to film her; they end up married with a baby, and the story takes a different turn. But always, she was with her animals in Africa, as close to them as to her own family, if not more so. Inspiring, especially now, as wild animals are more endangered than ever. Brava to a heroic woman, still out there doing this work.

And then tonight, most of a TV doc on Ben Bradlee, another extremely inspiring figure, the editor of the Washington Post when it followed and blew open the Watergate story; the exposé might not have happened if not for his courage. What he hated most, said the narrator, was politicians who lie. What would he have made of the guy there now and his execrable mendacious team? Just as well Bradlee’s not around to see the travesty going on in his country. I missed the beginning and came in as they were talking about JFK’s extra-marital affairs, how one night the President followed and sexually assaulted Bradlee’s then wife during a party. And we’re surprised men have continued to get away with that kind of thing!

Had a great talk with my son today about this. He thinks the rise in sexual assault is at least partly because of porn on the internet, which dehumanizes women – and sex itself. He told me a guy he knows can only “get it up” when he’s watching a screen, so when he and his girlfriend are making love, she films what they’re doing and he watches on the phone. How’s that for dehumanizing? Sam thinks the rise in gun violence is partly because of video games; guys spend thousands of hours blowing things up on a screen until violence isn’t real any more. We’re fucked, he said. And I might agree, were people not making fabulous documentaries to show us the truth and bring us to our senses.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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